Sean Smith, KG4WSS, Killed in Consulate Attack
Sean P. Smith, KG4WSS, of Falls Church, Virginia, was killed when the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked on September 11. He was 34. Smith was one of four Americans, including Chris Stevens -- the US Ambassador to Libya -- who was killed in the attack.
Smith -- a native of San Diego -- enlisted in the Air Force in 1995 at age 17. He served six years as a ground radio maintenance specialist, including a deployment to Oman, before leaving the service in 2002 as a staff sergeant. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. Smith, who had worked at the State Department for 10 years, was in Libya on a temporary assignment when he was killed; Before his temporary assignment to Benghazi, Smith served for the State Department in Brussels, Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and The Hague.
“Sean was a friend of mine, and while he was not a very active operator he was an extremely skilled electronic technician,” James Kirkham, W4HFK, told the ARRL. “He was instrumental in getting me back into the hobby after a 10 year hiatus.”
Smith was well known in the online gaming community as an avid participant of the space fantasy game EVE Online, where he was known as “Vile Rat,” one of the leaders of a gamers’ alliance and renowned for his diplomatic skill in the multi-player space warfare simulation.
“If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat’s talent as a diplomat,” said Smith’s friend Alex Gianturco, in a tribute posted on his website. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR.” Gianturco wrote that Smith had been under fire before, when he was posted to Baghdad. When that occurred, he usually broke off his messaging. “We’d freak out and he’d come back okay after a bit,” Gianturco wrote. “But Tuesday night, after reporting ‘GUNFIRE,’ he disconnected and never returned.” A few hours earlier that evening, Smith posted the following: “assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Smith is survived by his wife, Heather, and two young children, Samantha and Nathan. “They will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to our country, service that took him from Pretoria to Baghdad, and finally to Benghazi,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. – Thanks to The Washington Post, CNN, the US Air Force, Bill Cross, W3TN, and James Kirkham, W4HFK, for the information