Christopher Smith was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1988. He enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program of the U.S. Marine Corps on May 25, 2005, and went on active duty to begin basic training on June 5, 2006. Pvt Smith completed basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, on September 1, 2006, and then attended Basic Infantryman training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, from September to November 2006. He then served as an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon Operator with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from November 2006 until his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps on June 4, 2010. During this time, Corporal Smith deployed with the Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Garmsir, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from March to October 2008. He remained attached to the Individual Ready Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 2010 to 2014. Christopher is the grandson of Edker Willis Smith (U.S. Army, Retired), and Randolph Lee Eller (U.S. Air Force, Retired), and is the son of Randolph Dean Eller (U.S. Army).
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit.
My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.
Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy.