Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.- Pfc. Brian Smith, a logistics clerk with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, takes a few moments to contemplate his day. Smith spends an average of forty dollars a day paying off his family?s debt.

Photo by Pfc. David A. Weikle

Marine chooses family over self

7 Jul 2006 | Pfc. David A. Weikle

It’s been said you can’t put a price on love, but Pfc. Brian Smith, a logistics clerk with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, does just that.

Smith, a Commerce, Okla., native, spends an average of forty dollars a day supporting his mother, father and teenaged sister by paying off their debt.

Smith, who graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., September 3, 2005 says he took out several loans after graduating boot camp so he could pay off his parent’s debt.

“My parents were about to lose their house,” Smith said. “I wanted my sister to continue living there, so I paid off their debt.”

Smith’s parents, Tammy Smith, a former registered nurse, and Mike Smith, a former leatherworker, both became physically disabled several years ago.

“They couldn’t work anymore so they started to draw from social security,” Smith said.
He is now paying off the loans he took out with allotments from his paycheck. He sold both of his vehicles to help pay the debt and should be out of debt by June 2007.

“People have to help other people,” Smith said. “Vanity is the worst sin.”
Pfc. Kyle Ledford, a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, said Smith is a reliable friend who looks out for his fellow man.

“Smith really cares for his family,” Ledford said. “He’s just trying to look out for them.”
Smith feels that this is not unusual behavior. Many of Smith’s friends and coworkers feel he is too kind hearted.

“They say I give too much,” he said. “I did what any person would in that situation.”
“People think that I help my parents too much,” he said. “They think I’ve got to take care of myself first.”

Smith looks to several people for inspiration.

“Miyamoto Musashi was a 16th century philosopher, painter and swordsman,” Smith said. “He lived a reclusive life but he always tried to do the right thing.”

Smith also looked to his sensei, Scott Baker, an instructor in the martial arts discipline of Goju Ryu Budo Kai, and his grandfather, B.J. Jackson, a former truck driver for a commercial freight company.

“They helped me by showing me that even when it seems the odds are stacked against you, you can still do the right thing.”

Smith isn’t sure what he’ll do when he gets out of the Corps.

“I might re-enlist,” Smith said. “Then again, I might go to college and work at a dojo.”
He said while he is unsure of what he will do after his time in the Marines, he said he has confidence he will succeed.

“I’ll just ride it out like a wave, ready for it to come in.”
Smith is scheduled to deploy to Iraq with the 2nd Marine Division, later this year.
“Deployment is just another chapter in my life,” he said.

Currently, Smith is studying a few courses from the Marine Corps Institute, and is looking forward to furthering his education even more.

“I want to earn college credits and learn things I can put to good use,” he said.
When Smith acquired his family’s debt he showed his love for them, at a cost of forty dollars per day, just a small price to pay to see his family live in happiness.

“If given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”