Army Sgt. Erich S. Smallwood
Died May 26, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
23, of Trumann, Ark.; assigned to A Company, 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas Army National Guard in Marked Tree, Ark.; died May 26 near Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
Arkansas soldier dies in Iraq
Army Sgt. Smallwood was born May 20, 1984. He was a resident of Trumann, Arkansas, where he graduated high school and was a football star. Upon graduation of high school he joined the Army National Guard to be with his brother Specialist James Smallwood. In July, 2006, Sgt. Smallwood deployed to Iraq with the 875th Engineering Battalion which was responsible for clearing improvised explosive devices (IED) from the roadside of some of the most dangerous routes in Iraq. On May 26, 2007, near Balad, Iraq, Sgt. Smallwood was killed during an IED clearing mission when an IED exploded underneath his vehicle. Among the medals awarded posthumously to Sgt. Smallwood were the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with Valor. The valor award was for a November 27, 2006 incident in which Sgt. Smallwood maneuvered vehicles to protect a civilian convoy during a complex ambush which involved roadside bombs and small-arms fire.