Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith

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WEST LIBERTY, Iowa -- Chief Warrant Officer (CW4) Bruce Alan Smith, of West Liberty, Iowa, was killed in combat on Nov. 2, 2003, while proudly serving America in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the West Liberty Community Center, 1204 North Calhoun St., West Liberty. Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at the community center. The family will receive friends at the visitation from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Burial with full military honors will be held in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, West Liberty. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established. Barker Funeral Home, West Liberty, is in charge of arrangements. Bruce was pilot in command of a CH-47 helicopter when it was attacked by a surface to air missile about 40 miles west of Baghdad. He sustained injuries from the crash and died at a military field hospital. Bruce was posthumously recognized for his valor in combat as a pilot with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Bruce has also been nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest military medal for extraordinary heroism in combat at the risk of life. Bruce was born May 3, 1962, in Washington County, Iowa. He was the son of the late Arnold and Allene (Miller) Smith. Bruce graduated in 1980 from Columbus Community Schools in Columbus Junction, Iowa. On Sept. 18, 1983, he married Oliva McWeeny in Iowa City. As a civilian, Bruce worked from 1980 to 2000 at the University of Iowa as Research Assistant in the College of Medicine and the Departments of Pediatrics and Anesthesia. Bruce served his nation with distinction for over 23 years in the Iowa Army National Guard before giving his life for his country and comrades. He enlisted before his senior year of high school in 1980 as a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard and then served as a combat medic in the 209th Medical Company in Iowa City, reaching the rank of sergeant. Bruce was appointed as a Warrant Officer and graduated from helicopter training programs as a UH-1 Huey pilot in 1987. Bruce later attended advanced Army training courses including CH-47 flight school in 1994 and instructor pilot school in 2000. He was an instructor pilot with over 2,000 hours of experience in the CH-47 Chinook and UH-1 Huey Army helicopters, including deployments to Honduras, Guyana, Iraq and disaster and law-enforcement support in Iowa. Beginning in 2000, Bruce worked as a full-time Training and Readiness Officer at the Army Aviation Support Facility No. 3, located at Mount Joy, near Davenport. In addition, Bruce served as the Aviation Safety Officer and Instructor Pilot for Detachment 1 of Company F, 106th Aviation. On Feb. 3, 2003, Bruce was mobilized to deploy to Iraq with his National Guard unit, Company F, 106th Aviation, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served initially in Kuwait and was later reassigned to the central Iraq area, where he flew many missions transporting troops and supplies in support of the U.S. efforts in Iraq. Bruce was active and volunteered his time to many organizations in the West Liberty and Iowa City area community. He was a member and former President of the Noon Optimist Club in Coralville. Bruce's two greatest loves were his family and flying. Bruce's hobbies included turkey and deer hunting, teaching as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, coaching West Liberty youth sports and 4-H horse events with his children. Bruce is survived by his wife, Oliva, and children, Savannah, 15, and Nathan, 12, all of West Liberty; sisters, Carol Buck, of Kirkville, Iowa, Brenda Peter and her husband, Terry, of Coralville; and brother, Brian and his wife, Barbara, of Columbus Junction. Bruce is also survived by his mother-in-law, Maxine McWeeny, of Omaha, Neb.; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, JoAnn and Jay Wand, of Des Moines, Ed and Carol McWeeny, of Gowrie, Pat Braunger, of Iowa City, Helen and John Dowling, of Flemington, N.J., Mary Lee and Kelly Clarke, of Omaha, Neb., and Jim McWeeny and Sara Sommerlot, of West Des Moines. Bruce is also survived by 16 nieces and 14 nephews. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, father-in-law, Leo McWeeny, and brother-in-law, Jim Braunger.

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