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US Army Special Operations Soldier Jimmy Lee Smith III Killed during Shooting in Raeford, NC

Staff Sgt. Jimmy Lee Smith III died from a shooting in Raeford on Wednesday. He was 24 years old. May he rest in peace.



FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier was killed Jan. 18, 2023, in a shooting in Raeford, North Carolina.

Staff Sgt. Jimmy Lee Smith III, 24, was pronounced deceased by emergency medical services upon their arrival at the scene.

Local law enforcement officials are investigating the case.

“Jimmy was a tremendous teammate and paratrooper,” said Col. John D. Bishop, commander of 3rd Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne). “He was an outstanding culinary specialist and an absolute asset to 3rd Group. More importantly, he was a great human being. Like all members of 3rd Group, Jimmy and his family will always be part of the ‘The Tribe.’ Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with his loved ones, friends, and teammates through this incredibly difficult time.”

Smith’s leadership and comradery left an impact on his team.

“Jimmy was more than just an NCO, he was a mentor, a shoulder to cry on, a comedian at times, but most of all a great friend,” said Spc. Roenice Todd, a Group Support Battalion member. “It was truly an honor to be able to learn from him.”

Staff Sgt. Michael Zapata, a friend, added, “Staff Sgt. Smith was a leader, a go-getter, and a great friend. He was the example of what a paratrooper should be and touched the lives of hundreds of other soldiers and paratroopers in the process. Paratroopers don’t die, they simply slip away. See you at final manifest.”

Smith joined the Army in 2016 and served in the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, and in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before arriving to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) in March 2020. Smith served with distinction as a culinary specialist in the Group’s Support Battalion.