Lt. Patrick Lee Smith aka “Infidel” A Leatherneck Hero
1968 – 2011
It’s Zero dark 30 and the alarm goes off. I stumble to the digital thermometer in the kitchen to see how close to the anticipated 27 degree record breaking low we are. Great, it’s 32.5. She beckons me back to bed, “don’t go, it’s too cold, too dangerous, you’re always trying to push the limits, I swear it has something to do with your childhood.” My thoughts race for 15. Brotherhood, Marines, Fallen Brother in Arms, a Brother’s Family in need. Sometimes, it’s about more than physical support. My thoughts wander to Mariah, she’s probably getting up soon, alone, maybe getting their two young sons ready to go to grandmas so she can make her way with a Leatherneck escort to see Patrick’s headstone for the first time. I check the temp again. 32.1, shit, it’s getting colder. It would be easy to call this one off. I have an hour and a half run to my Leatherneck pick up point. It’s a safety issue, “Tank” would understand. But like he said, “at least we won’t get wet.”
The headlights cut the darkness as the first hunter pulls in to my farm up here in Martin’s Creak. I can’t lay around any longer. Fuck’it I’m hitt’en the road. Gotta be gone by 0700. Hustle, hustle, can’t be what I’m really good at,,,, being late.
I make good time, I’m early. In 10 and a hot chocolate, “Tank,” “Hardway,” “QBall” and Maraih pull in. 45 min down the road we hook up with TBone and about 15 of the combined Nomad and Tun Chapters out of Philly. A little farther down the Road “Knuckles” and his Virginia contingent, another dozen or so. One more stop and “Mongo” climbs aboard.
In this turbulent world and we may have our problems but we find strength in our numbers, large or small, and in our dedication to duty, and our “Brotherhood.” In times of immediate trouble, with History revered, our character, built on truth and understanding, side by side we must work together as we are ” the Few, the Proud” and we are unmatched in this world.
Mariah leaves letters from their boys. Touching letters and pictures she shared with us at the ceremonies end. “Infidel” will be missed and there is a hole in our ranks. Mariah can find comfort knowing she has the combined support of all Leathernecks. I like to think that our Brothers, that have gone ahead of us, will be waiting with cheer and will keep the warmth of that eternal campfire going for our joyous arrival. It is my belief all riders made it home safely.
Submitted by Hollywood, Belleau Wood Chapter.