Whether as a State Department information management officer, an Air Force technician or an online gamer, Sean Patrick Smith was much admired as a wiz on computers.
The 34-year-old Smith, who had worked at the State Department for 10 years, was in Libya on a temporary assignment when he was killed in the attack in Benghazi.
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, according to Air Force records. Smith was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.
“Sean Smith, it seems, lived to serve,” President Obama remarked at Friday’s arrival ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.
Before Smith’s temporary assignment to Benghzi, he served for the State Department in Brussels; Baghdad; Pretoria, South Africa; Montreal and The Hague.
He was well known in the online gaming community as an avid participant of the space fantasy game Eve, where he was known as “Vile Rat.” A number of online tributes have been posted. “Sean was a great guy and he was a . . . master at this game we all play, even though a lot of people may not realize how significant an influence he had,” wrote Alex “The Mittani” Gianturco, one of Smith’s fellow gamers.
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.