Military Confirms Death of 875th Soldier

May 28, 2007--Posted at 9:15 pm CDT, updated at 7:15 a.m. on May 29

BALAD, IRAQ - The Department of Defense announced Monday that Specialist Erich Smallwood of Trumann died on Saturday near Balad, Iraq.

The 23-year-old Smallwood suffered wounds when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

He was assigned to Company B of the 875th Engineer Battalion of the Arkansas National Guard in Marked Tree, but was serving with the battalion's Company A from Jonesboro during deployment.

Smallwood becomes the first member of the 875th and the 21st member of the Arkansas National Guard to die in the war.  Major General William D. Wofford, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, said Smallwood's death was "another heartbreaking loss" for the state and the country.

Smallwood was a 2002 graduate of Trumann High School.

About 400 soldiers from the 875th were mobilized for duty last July.  The battalion is scheduled to return home this fall.

No word yet on funeral arrangements... We'll let you know as soon as we get word. Our prayers go out to the family of this brave soldier.