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(USA Today)   Brian Smith was a long time lurker here at Fark. He died in Habaniyah, Iraq on July 2nd, 2004. On July 14, 2006, he became a father   (usatoday.com) divider line 497
    More: Hero  
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32291 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Feb 2007 at 4:18 PM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-02-12 04:40:39 PM
Phil McKraken: Submitter and proud godfather here.

thanks for the article, it made my last few minutes at work this afternoon a little more tolerable.
 
2007-02-12 04:40:40 PM
cmunic8r99

serious question:

Will the child be eligible for VA benefits afforded to children of military members killed in action?


With a child conceived normally, I'd say yes. Upon the death of my father, my sister and I received social security from the government until we were 18. After graduating from high school, we were eligible for Chapter 35 college benefits from the VA.

However, knowing how the government operates, I'm willing to be that the VA will try and weasel out of paying anything because the child was conceived after the soldier died. She was not pregnant at that time, so her benefits claim would end after his SGLI and final check was paid out.

I might be wrong, I hope I am really.
 
2007-02-12 04:40:48 PM
If he liked Fark, then surely he'd hope that a bunch of folks made *really* inappropriate comments here. Surely. You can't like fark and not like inappropriate, offensive bullshiat.

See you later, brian. It sucks some rich monkeysmuggler from connecticut had you killed. Punch God square in the balls for the rest of us for that one, if you could.
 
2007-02-12 04:41:05 PM
I, for one, welcome our new mutant zombie soldier overlords and will allow them to copulate with our women.
 
2007-02-12 04:41:23 PM
I'm not trying to be an ass, this is a serious question: Are survivors benefits extending to the son?

RIP Brian.
 
2007-02-12 04:41:29 PM
Phil McKraken

all snide comments aside sorry for your loss dude.

My brother is heading out in one month to go back for his 2nd tour.

Glad I got out when I did
 
2007-02-12 04:41:40 PM
This is creepy. I feel bad for the kid when the mom realizes that he is not her husband.
 
2007-02-12 04:41:46 PM
Way creepy.

Not as creepy as the "miscarried angels" webpages, mind you.

But, creepy nonetheless.
 
2007-02-12 04:41:48 PM
I think it's awesome that his son lives on, no matter how he was conceived. The tragedy is that his father won't be around to raise him.
 
2007-02-12 04:42:36 PM
/RIP Brian

/Sad to see a farker go.
 
2007-02-12 04:42:42 PM
Phil McKraken:Thanks for getting this greenlit. I almost cried. May your pal RIP, and may Mommy and Baby have nothing but the best out of life from here on out.
What a blessing this is for someone who's lost their loved ones, to be able to have them there in some small way.

All you haters and trolls can DIAF.
 
2007-02-12 04:42:57 PM
RIP
 
2007-02-12 04:42:58 PM
PoochUMD

Brings up a valid counter-point.


point recinded.
 
2007-02-12 04:42:58 PM
He is NOT a bastard...the child is a half-orphan.
 
2007-02-12 04:43:15 PM
Horsebolt McStabledoor: The fact that he was conceived thru artificial means after his father died doesn't really fit the definition of bastard.

Unless I'm mistaken, a marriage is legally dissolved upon the death of one of the spouses.

The child was both conceived and born when his parents were not legally married, so the original poster is likely correct from my layman's point of view.

That, in no way, diminishes the tastelessness of the original comment.
 
2007-02-12 04:43:27 PM
Very sad. RIP. I am all for humor to lighten sad and even horrific news, but many on this site betray their callousness through their comments. Guess that's what happens when you become a basement dwelling troll.
/ in basement as I type
// lots of natural light though
 
2007-02-12 04:43:28 PM
Punch God square in the balls for the rest of us for that one, if you could.


sorry to all others, THAT WTT

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH I almost spit my water.
 
2007-02-12 04:43:46 PM
Phil

Sorry to hear about your buddy. Even though it was 2 1/2 years ago, it doesn't change his hero status in my eyes.

His child is no bastard. This thread is a disgrace.
 
d3
2007-02-12 04:43:55 PM
Sorry, but the first thing I thought of while RTF was Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump. I'm picturing this kid becoming one of a long line of KIA troops yet the genes and bad luck continue on. I think it is kinda creepy too.

Also, I'm a firm believer in moving on after such a major loss. If the kid is a spitting image reminder of her loss it can seriously inhibit her ability to heal.

/Seriously, I wish them the best of luck. Would hate to be in their shoes.
 
2007-02-12 04:44:11 PM
Seems like his sperm were lurking too.
 
2007-02-12 04:44:18 PM
i5.tinypic.com
 
2007-02-12 04:44:47 PM
PoochUMD

But in all seriousness. If a soldier makes a sperm donation prior to heading off to war, he wants a child even if he doesn't come home.

That's very true. Give 'em hell, Brian Jr.
 
2007-02-12 04:44:53 PM
Horsebolt McStabledoor: The fact that he was conceived thru artificial means after his father died doesn't really fit the definition of bastard.

i take it this was meant for me. if so, reread the post - you missed something.
 
2007-02-12 04:45:06 PM
Phil McKraken

Just wondering, but do you know why it took them so long to run the story? The best I can think is V-Day is in a couple days, but it seems like they'd run it then...
 
2007-02-12 04:45:10 PM
Phil:

Sorry about your friend. not much else to say.
 
2007-02-12 04:45:32 PM
Holy_Juan

Thread over.
 
2007-02-12 04:45:39 PM
Noexit

I'm not trying to be an ass, this is a serious question: Are survivors benefits extending to the son?

Not trying to be an ass, but a serious answer -- RTFA:

Less certain is how the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs will view Benton. A child who is a legal dependent of a combat casualty is entitled under federal law to a range of educational, financial and health benefits.

No formal policy exists, however, in cases in which conception occurred after the parent died, says Lisette Mondello, a VA spokeswoman. In the two similar cases, the VA granted benefits, Mondello says.

Carroll-Smith has not yet requested that the VA declare her son a dependent of his father.
 
2007-02-12 04:46:01 PM
article

"Once you meet that little fellow," she says of her only grandchild, "you will think that there have been gobs of angels all over the place.

So is that what they used?
 
2007-02-12 04:46:04 PM
this is even more irresponsible than "getting your wife pregnant then going off to war."
why would anyone wanna bring a baby to this world knowing that s/he is gonna have only one parent??
the "father" was a hero. the mother is a dumb@$$
 
2007-02-12 04:46:32 PM
Phil McKraken: Submitter and proud godfather here.

Brian Smith was a first class guy, my best man and my best friend for 13 years. He loved Fark.com, especially the photoshop contests. He turned me onto it after the infamous "pickle incident".


I'm very sorry for your loss. It's a real shame Brian can't be there to see his son grow up.

FarkinNortherner: Link told me off for not being American :-\

Here's the article for all you non-US Farkers:

Science makes a new father of a fallen American soldier
Banked sperm produces a son: 'He's a blessing'

By Gregg Zoroya
USA TODAY

AUSTIN - Seven-month-old Benton Drew Smith is the spitting image of his father, with the same blue eyes, fair hair and infectious grin.

Bouncing on his mother's lap in olive-green overalls and slippers festooned with lizards, he also holds a special place in history: He is one of the first children to have been conceived from sperm left behind by a soldier who was killed in battle. Benton's dad, Army 2nd Lt. Brian Smith, was shot by a sniper in Iraq on July 2, 2004.

"I've had some lousy luck in my life," says Smith's widow, Kathleen "K.C." Carroll-Smith, 41. "But he has worked out," she says, gazing into her son's eyes as he grins back. "He's a blessing. He is wonderful."

Benton was born July 14, 2006, a little more than two years after his father, 30, was cut down by a single shot while checking the treads of his Abrams tank in Habaniyah, Iraq, west of Baghdad. The bullet sliced Smith's liver, causing internal bleeding. His wife says she was told that her husband collapsed, muttered that he could no longer feel his legs, lost consciousness and died.

Death did not erase him, Carroll-Smith says. "I have a piece of Brian with me every day now."

How many children have been artificially conceived after their father's death in war is unclear; the Department of Veterans Affairs says it knows of two similar cases during the past three years. The commercial technology for storing sperm did not become available until 1971, so the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first in which a significant number of combat troops have been able to take advantage of the technology.

Participation remains small, relative to the number of troops in combat. About 100 troops make such deposits each year, according to officials at the nation's three largest sperm-bank companies - Fairfax Cryobank in Fairfax, Va., California Cryobank in Los Angeles and Xytex in Augusta, Ga.

"This clearly is an area where medical technology has moved faster than most of our social thinking," says Dale Smith, professor and chairman of medical history at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. He describes the practice as "an effort to take out a social insurance policy on ... mortality."

For the family of Brian Smith, the decision by his widow to become pregnant by in vitro fertilization on Oct. 29, 2005, was not without emotional turmoil.

Smith's parents, Linda and William Smith of McKinney, Texas, concede that they struggled at first to accept their daughter-in-law's decision. "There was hesitancy there in the beginning," says Linda Smith, 59. "It just didn't seem right or fair or something that Brian wouldn't be there to raise his child."

During Carroll-Smith's pregnancy, Linda Smith nonetheless remained supportive, both women say. When Carroll-Smith asked her mother-in-law for assistance late in the pregnancy, Linda Smith rushed to help prepare for the baby.

Smith's parents have since fallen in love with the baby. During the Christmas season, they took Benton to a Wal-Mart in McKinney to have his picture taken in the same sailor suit his father wore for a portrait when he was a child. The images mirror each other, Linda Smith says.

"Once you meet that little fellow," she says of her only grandchild, "you will think that there have been gobs of angels all over the place. He's absolutely the most adorable child."

Less certain is how the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs will view Benton. A child who is a legal dependent of a combat casualty is entitled under federal law to a range of educational, financial and health benefits.

No formal policy exists, however, in cases in which conception occurred after the parent died, says Lisette Mondello, a VA spokeswoman. In the two similar cases, the VA granted benefits, Mondello says.

Carroll-Smith has not yet requested that the VA declare her son a dependent of his father.

Carroll-Smith, who left her last job as a secretary in the intensive care unit at Seton Medical Center in January, says she urged her husband to deposit his sperm in a Fairfax Cryobank facility here about a month before he went to Iraq.

The decision had nothing to do with fear that he would die in combat, she says. Rather, it was for reasons that William Jaeger, Fairfax Cryobank director, says are typical of most military families that make the decision: a desire for wives to continue to try to conceive while their husbands are deployed, or a fear that a husband will lose fertility because of combat wounds or exposure to toxic chemicals.

Today, however, some families are also concerned about a husband not surviving combat.

That was what worried Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Sutherland, says his wife, Maria, 37, of North Pole, Alaska. She has two children from a previous marriage and had undergone a tubal ligation. She says Stephen Sutherland, 33, dreamed of fathering his own children and left behind a sperm deposit before deploying to Iraq in 2005.

He died Nov. 12, 2005, in the rollover of a Stryker vehicle in Al Qadisiyah, south of Baghdad. His widow became pregnant through in vitro fertilization last October and the baby is due July 17.

"I told him that if the worst should happen," Maria Sutherland recalls, "I would have this child no matter what."

Carroll-Smith says she and her husband absolutely wanted children. The couple had met at the University of Texas, where he was a student, she was a dormitory supervisor and both were members of a historical re-enactment group that specialized in pre-17th-century culture. They met one night when group members gathered to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation.

With his father's support, Smith earned a law degree at Baylor University law school in 1998 and practiced for a few years. He and Carroll-Smith married in 2002.

Smith, who had always admired the military and whose father, grandfather and an uncle had served, enlisted in the Army that year. He was deployed to Iraq in January 2004.

The couple's efforts at conceiving during the previous 18 months had failed, and Carroll-Smith wanted the option of continuing to try during her husband's deployment, she says. Eight years his senior, she feared she had little time left to conceive.

When she was 3 years old, a battery-operated doll had sparked and set her clothes on fire. She suffered third-degree burns over 45% of her body.

During the next 34 years, Carroll-Smith underwent 80 reconstructive surgeries, each under general anesthetic, and she worried that her body might no longer be capable of pregnancy.

On July 2, 2004, she was just about to begin the process of in vitro fertilization when the doorbell rang at the couple's home in north Austin. She remembers the time was 6:15 p.m.

As Carroll-Smith peered out the window, she could see a woman in a suit carrying a Bible. Thinking the caller was a Jehovah's Witness, she ignored the doorbell. But the two people outside, one of them a female military chaplain, kept ringing it.

In a ceremony July 10, Brian Smith's body was cremated along with a bottle of his favorite condiment - Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce - and a copy of a fantasy novel, Someplace to Be Flying. The ashes were buried in Smith's hometown of McKinney.

For two months, Carroll-Smith says, grief left her unable to function. Smith's parents were equally devastated. Then, as the fog of mourning began to lift, Carroll-Smith warmed to the idea of becoming pregnant.

After all, that had been her dream - and her husband's. It also was an opportunity that might elude her as time passed. "I'm 40," she thought then. "This was kind of a last chance."

Fairfax Cryobank officials urged her to wait six months to ensure her choice wasn't impulsive. And her mother-in-law warned that raising a child as a single parent would be difficult.

Carroll-Smith describes herself as independent-minded. She owns the power tools in the family and was the craftsman. She waited four months.

The first attempts - in October 2004 and June 2005 - failed. Each effort at in vitro fertilization - a process in which the egg is fertilized outside the body and implanted in the woman's uterus - cost $10,000 to $15,000.

Moreover, the process was agonizing. Hormone injections to help her produce eggs caused intense pain in her joints, her back and her collarbone, she says. Miserable flu-like symptoms remained for two weeks. And then there were painful injections of progesterone to boost her ability to carry the fertilized egg.

She says she was almost ready to give up. "I kind of went back into more of a depressed state," she recalls.

When a final death-gratuity payout from the Pentagon arrived, Carroll-Smith saw it as an opportunity for one more attempt. This time, she was successful. The baby boy was delivered by cesarean section at 39 weeks. He weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 21 inches long.

She gave him the name Benton - a grandfather's surname and his father's middle name.

Cradling her son on a recent afternoon, she plays back the four phone messages her husband left before and during his deployment to Iraq. They are now keepsakes. In one, he takes a stab at singing a phrase from the Beatles' Michelle. In the last one, he sounds tired, and signs off with: "Miss you terribly. Love you. Bye."

As with every other wife or husband who has lost a spouse in war, the death seemed to bring each dream to a crashing halt. "When they told me Brian died, that was it. Everything ended," Carroll-Smith says.

Reproductive technology allowed her to cheat death, at least in one small way, she says. It also helped ease her grief. That's why Carroll-Smith urges military families who dream of children to do what she and her husband did.

"It's insurance that the life you wanted, you can still sort of have," she says. Benton "does have a father figure that he will be told about and that will be expressed to him. It's not like he doesn't have a father. It's just that his father is not here.

"All my plans are not gone," she says. "This thing that we planned for actually happened."
 
2007-02-12 04:46:40 PM
Will his frozen semen be tested to see if he is the father of Anna Nicole's child as well?
 
2007-02-12 04:46:47 PM
kuaq

Why? Getting your wife pregnant then going off to war. Way to be responsible.

You retard, the military rarely lets a soldier know 9-10 months in advance that he/she will be deploying to a hostile area, its called OPSEC/COMSEC, they don't want specific details getting out.
 
2007-02-12 04:46:49 PM
We were the only "openly gay clan" to play online. He was "Mangina", and together we formed the Rainbow Warriors. Of course, we weren't gay, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Good times.

Best of luck to the family.
 
2007-02-12 04:46:53 PM
Brings new definition to deadbeat father...

/sorry
 
2007-02-12 04:47:08 PM
Congrats on the birth. May you be an angel in his outfield one day
 
2007-02-12 04:47:09 PM
even though this is fark, I'm amazed that there are those of you who would snark away about something like this.


I find it odd that you guys can rag on anyone else dying, for whatever reasons, be they war, stupidity, both, accident or purposeful, then get uptight when it hits closer to home, be it a farker, an american soldier, who was damned unlucky or simply a buddy.

Don't get me wrong, RIP to that guy, and my heart goes out to his family and friends but you can't pick and choose your morbid joking. All or nothing, or you look like hypocrites.

/2p
//RIP
///</morality>
 
2007-02-12 04:47:12 PM
Godspeed.

/best friend in HS was named brian Smith.
//Not the same guy
 
2007-02-12 04:47:14 PM
dave420

If he liked Fark, then surely he'd hope that a bunch of folks made *really* inappropriate comments here. Surely. You can't like fark and not like inappropriate, offensive bullshiat.

See you later, brian. It sucks some rich monkeysmuggler from connecticut had you killed. Punch God square in the balls for the rest of us for that one, if you could.


I'll second everything said here. Both the nut punch, and what can be his assumed love of Fark humor. I would have been dissapointed if this thread had turned in to a syrup-fest. Fark away for the guy, I think it's for the best!

Oh... and, so his wife is single now? Oh, wait, feck, I'm married. Damn.
 
2007-02-12 04:47:19 PM
pixistick - They were no longer married because he died, technically the son is a bastard. Sorry just the facts mam

Good point. You don't have to get a divorce before you marry someone else if your spouse dies do you?

If the answer is no....

BASTARD IT IS!
 
2007-02-12 04:47:44 PM
*wipes tear*
well doesn't that just break your heart.

Seriously, I'm sad for her loss at the same time happy that technology can allow someone as brave as himself still be able procreate and give that bundle of joy to her. Hero tag indeed.
 
2007-02-12 04:47:46 PM
Phil McKraken: The name "Phil McKraken" came from our many hours playing Mechwarrior 4 online. We were the only "openly gay clan" to play online. He was "Mangina", and together we formed the Rainbow Warriors. Of course, we weren't gay, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Rest In Pieces, brother. See you in Hell.


LMFAO! He sounds like he was one helluva guy.

Sorry for your and the family's loss. At least you're there to tell the kid what kind of a guy his old man was.

Should be an interesting conversation, also, when the kid is old enough to do the math... ;)
 
2007-02-12 04:47:56 PM
What rdonato said
 
2007-02-12 04:48:01 PM
Having not read the article, I'm going to assume that his reanimated corpse raped and impregnated a nun.
 
2007-02-12 04:48:09 PM
2007-02-12 04:30:56 PM airsupport

To this day, I don't understand the logic behind farkers who comment without reading the article. Do you all realize how utterly stupid this makes you appear?

'Yeah, I didn't bother to learn what the hell I'm talking about, but here's my educated opinion anyway.'

Would you walk into a meeting at work that you knew nothing about and just start tossing out opinions as you saw fit?

Are the non-readers just convinced that their wit is so very awesome and all-powerful that they are funny and relevant no matter what they say, in any context?

Asshats.

And RIP Brian.


ditto
 
2007-02-12 04:48:14 PM
EstoniaKat

kuaq:
Why? Getting your wife pregnant then going off to war. Way to be responsible.

DIAF.


I second that
 
2007-02-12 04:48:36 PM
wonder if this is anything like when a buddy of mine went off to Iraq... was gone for 7 months and came back and his wife was 6 months pregnant.

/she cheated on him after he had only been gone 1 month.
//dirty lil whore broke his heart.
 
2007-02-12 04:49:00 PM
R.I.P. Brian
Phil McKraken Thank you for submitting this

/All the trolls can DIAF also
 
2007-02-12 04:49:01 PM
TFA gobs

Dimensio: not the best choice of words

"Gobs" would have worked better in an article about a child conceived by a seaman's semen, I think.
 
2007-02-12 04:49:22 PM
What is the point of passing on your genetic material if you can't pass on the knowledge and experience you've gained? That's the true tragedy here. The child will never know his father. The Father will enver know his child. The only one here that this is a "positive" for is the mother, and since she needed this child so badly, I can only assume that she is less than "stable".

Who said she "needed the child so badly?" I don't remember reading that in the article. There's also no indication that the mother is unstable. So, unless you just think any child raised by a single parent is doomed to a life of tragedy (which is ridiculous), then I don't see this as being any more of a crapshoot than anyone else having children, married, single or otherwise.
 
2007-02-12 04:50:13 PM
Stupid Fat Hobbit
Too true, unfortunately. The sooner we invent benevolent superintelligent computers to govern us, the better.

I, for one, welcome our binary overlords.
 
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