Smitty Steps Up
by First Lieutenant Alan Green
81mm Mortar Platoon, BLT 2/26
On the Horn
"On October 1, 1968, after 11 months of service as a radioman with 2/26, Smitty was able to put any lingering doubts he might have had about himself to rest."
During my year leading the 81mm mortar platoon of 2/26, I got to work with some exceptional radiomen.
The best ones can read your mind, so that when they need to be the commander's voice – when events prevent you from “getting on the horn” yourself – they will say what needs to be said.
Cpl Eric F. “Smitty” Smith was as good as they got.
As was true of the other senior operators, in the “Z” -- the DMZ -- he quite often answered as Whiskey Six (mortar platoon commander call sign) on the battalion net, and only when necessary passing the handset to me, Whiskey Six Actual.
A friend who never served once said that the difference between those who have faced an enemy and those who haven't is simple.
Cpl Eric "Smitty" Smith about to heli-lift off the USS Princeton with his radio. Photo courtesy of Eric Smith.
Veterans know how they will do when everything is on the line, while others will always wonder.
On October 1, 1968, after 11 months of service as a radioman with 2/26, and having already been tested in ways big and small by the nature of his occupation, Smitty was able to put any lingering doubts he might have had about himself to rest.