LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The body of an active duty soldier was brought home to Lubbock this afternoon.
Caleb Grant Smither, 19, died in Fort Bragg, North Carolina last week. He was in the Echo Company 37th Engineer Battalion on the Second Brigade Combat Team in the 82nd Airborne Division. He is a Frenship High School graduate and was a star track runner.
The plane carrying his body arrived at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport just after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Smither was taken to Resthaven Funeral Home, escorted by the United Valor Motorcycle Club and the Patriot Guard Riders. The community gathered along the route to welcome Smither home.
Heather Baker, Caleb’s mother, said Caleb gave everything a thousand percent.
Baker said her son always wanted to serve his country.
“In less than a year, my private second-class Caleb Smither, he moved all the way up to airborne,” Baker said.
Baker said Caleb accomplished everything he set his mind to.
“It’s just amazing to be at 19-years-old, he was able to accomplish so much,” Baker said.
Baker said Smither received a leadership award and the Iron Soldier award for the highest physical training score.
“He’s very competitive and he’s always trying to outdo everybody,” Baker said.
Caleb graduated from Frenship High School in 2018 where he excelled in track, but what he will be most remembered for is how much he loved people.
“You always knew when you were loved by him, that’s for sure,” Baker said.
And, how much people loved him.
“We are proud of him, we love him so much, and there’s so many people in this town that just adore him,” Baker said.
Baker said what keeps her going, “is just being able to honor him as a soldier, again as a patriot.”
Services for Smither will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. at Turning Point Community Church, located at 11202 Quaker Avenue.
On the GoFundMe page for Smither, the family says, “His death was an unexpected tragedy and this go fund me page is to assist the family in laying Caleb to rest. Any donations above and beyond the family’s needs related to this tragedy will in turn be donated to a military related charity of the family’s choosing within our local community.”
If you would like to donate to his GoFundMe, click here.