Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany

from Marcus Wynne

Richard Smith, 1957-2012

with 16 comments

Last week the international special operations community lost a respected member. Last week I lost a friend. Rich Smith was my friend and today I remember and honor him.

I first met Rich in 2006, at an invitation-only training event I presented in the UK. I knew Rich by reputation, as he’d trained with my long-time friend Dennis Martin, and he worked closely with my brother-from-another-mother Clint Oosthuizen, the lead CQB instructor for the South African Police Service.

Rich was the oldest student in the class, same age as me, and just a few years younger than Dennis. Despite his age he dominated much younger and fitter operators throughout the training. Tough, quiet, and fierce when he switched on, he was — in a word — formidable.

Dennis, Rich and Clint in an early CQB Services Close Protection course.

We talked a lot while we were there in the UK, and that was the beginning of a long-distance friendship that continued via Skype and e-mail.

Rich (second from left) at the Neural-Based Instructor Course.

Rich began his special operations career as a very young man in Rhodesia. He was an operator with the Rhodesian SAS, and later worked with other special operations units. More recently he did several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan working on contract for various organizations.

Rich on the job.

He was a warrior. He was a man who lived and breathed the warrior’s ethos. Deeply intelligent and well read, he enjoyed hashing out training concepts and theory and putting them to the test in the real world.

He was humble. Modest to a fault. He never spoke of his A-List military lineage or his deep body of experience, but was always willing to share the expertise he’d developed over a lifetime. Rich walked the walk and never talked. His experience shone out of everything he did – at least to the trained eye.

He was a gentleman. An Old School gentleman who embodied in everything he did the heritage of English, Rhodesian, and South African manhood.

Rich and I were working together on a training project and I’d planned to meet up with him in Sierra Leone or South Africa, at his base in Durban, later this year. I may make that trip and visit his resting place. Rich believed in the Old Religion of Odin/Wotan, and practiced the Warrior’s Path. In his belief, warriors received a special place in the Hall of Valhalla, a seat earned by their Service in going in harm’s way on behalf of others — their family, their clan, their tribe, their community, their country. Their friends.

Rich spent his entire life in Service, taking lives and saving lives, and he’s earned his seat of honor in the Warrior’s Hall.

May you rest well, my friend, and may you always be honored in accordance with all that you have earned.

Rest well, my friend.

Written by marcuswynne

August 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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16 Responses

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  1. Your friend Rich, sounds like such a special human. Therefore, I extend condolences on the loss of such a special and rewarding friendship.

    Nancy Parris

    August 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

  2. Hey Marcus
    That is a lovely tribute to a phenomenal man! We will try and get u o skype tomorrow.
    Love you and chat soon

    Clint Oosthuizen

    August 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    • Hi darling! Send me an e-mail with a time, as I’m still on the road. I do want to have a chat soon with you and Clint. Much love to you, Clint and the boys and the rest of the clan!


      August 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm

  3. Sorry for the loss of your friend.You shall see him again. As a fellow follower of Wotan, I believe we all will meet in the halls someday.


    August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss, Marcus. You and your friend are in my thoughts and prayers. Xoxo

    Tracie Goebel

    November 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    • Thanks, Goddess! Nice to hear from you. Yes, Rich was a great one, and we were all diminished by his passing. But I think he’s watching out for all of us, with the best possible overwatch position. Take care and keep in touch!


      November 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

  5. Thanks for the article Marcus. I was the guy who officiated at his service. He was a martial arts buddy and my CQB pupil in the early years. I knew him as a close friend and brother in arms for thirty plus years, you summed him up well.
    The Halls of the Gods are the richer.
    Hail the Aesir

    Rod Briggs

    November 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

    • Thanks for touching base, Rod. Rich mentioned you to me in our lengthy correspondence. He was a great one and he’s missed. He’s got a special place at The Table.


      November 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

  6. Rich was a special person in the lives of my family, and this tribute to him is awesome. Thank you so much.

    Frances Watts

    November 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Frances. We were all diminished by our loss of Rich.


      November 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

  7. Thank you Marcus………. amazing words……… such a hero……… my hero and my daddy! Well written and never forgotten x wish we got to meet you!


    December 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    • Your father was an astonishing man, Tarryn. He was my friend. We are all diminished by his loss. Thanks for stopping by…


      December 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

  8. […] like Rich Smith, (https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/richard-smith-1957-2012/) believed and practiced the Old Way, of Wotan/Odin. When I heard of his death, I looked out my […]

  9. […] reminded of what my late friend Rich Smith said when I asked him what he thought of the whole American (he was Rhodesian) obsession with […]

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