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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : features April 16, 2014

8/14/2012 10:47:00 AM
SFC Sandra Smith retires from the Army
'Welcome home' celebration will be held Saturday at Tsidi Toii (Birdsprings) Chapter
Sandra Smith will be honored Saturday. Submitted photo
Sandra Smith will be honored Saturday. Submitted photo
Navajo-Hopi Observer

NAVAJO NATION - Army SFC Sandra Smith has decided to retire from the service. She will be honored during a "welcome home" celebration at Tsidi Toii (Birdsprings) Chapter.

The Navajo/Hopi Honor Riders will arrive at Birdsprings Chapter at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Grand entry begins at 10 a.m. and recognition ceremonies will begin. Lunch will be served at 12 p.m. Entertainment will be offered at 1 p.m. and retrieve of colors begins at 3 p.m.

Smith, an Army veteran who currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, is originally from the Navajo Nation. Her clan is N'at'oh Din'e T'ach'ii nii (Tobacco/Red Streak Running in the Water) born for

Biih'bitoohnii T'odichii'nii (Deer Springs/Bitter Water); Her maternal grandfathers are Ashiihii (Salt) and paternal grandfathers are Ti 'izilani (Many Goats).

Smith was born in Winslow, Ariz. Her mother, Annie Smith, was originally from Tolani Lake and resided there until her death in 2009. Although much of Smith's childhood years were spent at Black Mesa where her father worked, Bobby Smith now resides at the family home in Tolani Lake, Ariz.

Upon completing high school from Flagstaff High in 1988, she entered the U.S. Army. She completed basic training at Fort McClellan, Ala., and the advance individual training at Fort Jackson, S.C. as a personnel administration specialist.

In January 1990, Smith began her military career overseas, assigned to the 1st Armored Division, Ansbach, Germany. While stationed there, she witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and experienced the rapid deployment of an entire division in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

After the war in 1992, Specialist Smith reported to 1st Calvary Division in Fort Hood, Texas, where she set the path of her military service upon her first reenlistment.

In 1997, she trained to become a combat engineer in charge of general construction and fulfilled assignments with the Corps of Engineers. Her assignments included; Taegu, South Korea; Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Ruston, La.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and humanitarian services to Belize and parts of Central America after natural disasters.

Many soldiers were called to duty after 9/11 and in December 2001, without exception Sgt. Smith served two tours to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2005, she deployed again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In April 2007, she was injured in Iraq by a car explosion, which threw her into a concrete barrier.

While undergoing medical treatment the past several years, she chose to pursue a secondary career path and began working on her educational goals at Wayland Baptist University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Applied Science. After 23 years of service, she made the decision to retire from the U.S. Army.

Smith's family is accepting donations on her behalf. To find out more, call Ophelia Belome at (928) 686-3285 or email or Lorenzo Lee at (928) 613-7490 or (602) 267-2321.

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