The Bravest of Friends

A tank cartwheeling across the desert isn’t what most Americans see during their workday. But for Private First Class Ross Smith, that is exactly what played out before his eyes during his first tour overseas as a United States Marine. Like a movie scene – a 62-ton tank somersaulted its way over sand dunes after an IED explosion.

Growing up, Ross knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. With Marine Corps posters plastered on his walls, and the path his older brother and Vietnam Marine Corps Veteran father had created, it was no surprise he enlisted just after graduating high school.

His best friend, Justin Carpenter, knew this is what Ross was destined to do with his life. Justin knew his good friend well, and he was certain that more than anything, Ross wanted to fight for those who couldn’t. For the guys next to him and the people back home who were important to him. He firmly believed that only those who were dedicated and passionate about being a Marine should join. Not those who were just there to serve their time and leave.

Tragically, during his fourth year in infantry, an IED explosion killed Ross. This was a shock to all who knew him, especially since he was merely weeks from leaving the Corps, and he had survived worse situations. Like being on the front lines during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Justin’s friendship with Ross is a force and bond that can’t be broken. Even death hasn’t stopped him from calling Ross his best friend. If he could, Justin would let his brave friend know, “Ross, I’m proud of you. Proud of everything you did.”

From all of us at 3 Daughters Brewing, we want to say “Tango Yankee” for your dedication, passion and honor in serving our country.

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