CW2 Rusten R. Smith

7 Aug 1990 – 29 Mar 2023

Eagle Dustoff

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusten Radford Smith was born August 7, 1990 in Jacksonville, FL and was raised in St. James, MO. He graduated from John F. Hodge High School in St. James, MO in 2009.  Rusten and Caroline were united in marriage on February 26, 2016 while stationed at Fort Hood, TX.  Rusten passed away in a helicopter accident near Fort Campbell, KY on March 29, 2023.

Rusten was a loving, caring husband and father, who enjoyed sharing his love for adventure and the outdoors with his wife and children through fishing and hunting,  He and Pa (his Grandpa Harold) spent numerous seasons in the woods searching for the trophy buck or the turkey of the century. 

Rusten joined the United States Army in 2012, and he served our nation proudly as a Blackhawk Pilot in the famed 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) with C. Company, 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (Wings of Destiny). Rusten had multiple deployments including two combat tours to Afghanistan and Europe for Atlantic Resolve.

Rusten’s awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal, pending, posthumous; Air Medal w/combat distinguishing device “C”; Army Achievement Medal, 4; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Bronze Service Star, 2; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon, 2; NATO Medal, 2: Basic Army Aviator Badge; Parachutist Badge, Basic; Air Assault Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge-Bar, Mechanic (for automotive or allied vehicles); Overseas Service Bar, 2.

Rusten is survived by his wife, Caroline; three children: step son, Connor; daughters: Luna and Lily of Clarksville, TN; his parents, Rad and Brenda Smith of St. James, MO; his sister, Lena and husband, Monty Turner of St. James, MO; grandparents, Harold and Bonnie Hoffmeister of St. James, MO; Aunt Deb Hoffmeister and Uncle Paul Viets of Springfield, MO; Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa Hoffmeister of St. James, MO; and Aunt Audrey and Uncle Rick Morris of Waynesville, MO; cousins: Jake (Cassie) Morris of Springfield, MO and Casey (Josh) Bladdick of St. Robert, MO; and numerous other aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Richard and Trevia (Dick and Sam) Smith and Aunt Charlene (Kay) Jones.  

Rusten was only 32 years old when he died, but he accomplished more in his short time on earth than most people will achieve in a lifetime.  He was a dedicated family man, a loyal friend, a dependable battle buddy, and simply an outstanding human being. Rusten loved life, his family and friends, his country, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.