Years ago a listener introduced me to a hero.
It was not that a member of the audience was a friend or acquaintance of the Colonel. He just had heard him somewhere and thought he would make a great guest. He was right.
The story of Col. Mark Smith is one of heroism. Heroism in battle, heroism in life.
He commanded a group of Marines which came to be known as the Mad Ghosts. Iraqi bad guys came to know Col. Smith and his tactics. As a result I came to rely on Col. Smith as our military go-to-man. He was our analyst. His no-holds-barred manner won him fans the moment he made his first appearance.
He lost his battle to lung cancer last week and was laid to rest Wednesday. This after surviving war, serving in the Marine Corps for decades, and being a member of the Indiana High Patrol for about a quarter century. He was a Marine's Marine. He was thoughtful. He was insightful. He was a man I held in high regard.
His story, as written in the news, is here.
The CBS Evening News honored Col. Smith.
The funeral home produced a wonderful presentation honoring his life.
What I offer is the unedited final interview I had with Col. Mark Smith. It's a couple of years old, but most of it has never been heard. It's nearly an hour long, so honor Col. Smith, settle in, and listen...listen to an American Hero.