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Ozarks Soldier Will be Laid to Rest Saturday in Small Country Cemetery

Staff Sgt. Tyler Smith, 24, leaves behind a wife, two small children, his parents and a brother

An Ozarks soldier who died after being hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan will be laid to rest this weekend in a small country cemetery in south central Missouri. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.

The son of a construction worker and a veterinary assistant, Staff Sgt. Tyler Smith grew up in the small town of Licking, Missouri, and graduated from high school there in 2006.  He was killed earlier this month from the wounds he sustained from a makeshift bomb in Kandahar province. He was 24.

Smith is survived by his wife, two young children, his parents, and his brother.

One of the three pastors who will preside over the funeral Saturday is Jerry Dodson, pastor of Licking Pentecostal Holiness Church.

“Tyler was a very strong Christian. He would be a person, you’d say, that had his head on straight. He knew his priorities in life. And he died doing what he wanted to do most of his life, and that was be in the military,” Dodson said.

Dodson says he expects most of the people from Licking and the surrounding small towns to attend the funeral Saturday—he says that’s just what happens when you lose a soldier in a tight knit community like his.

The patriot guard will escort Smith’s body to Licking, and then to the cemetery.

The visitation will be from noon to 2:00 on Saturday, with the funeral beginning at 2:00 at the Pentecostal church in Licking. Smith will then be laid to rest in a small cemetery near Summersville.

Smith was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.