Veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom receive street signs in their honor


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NORTH BRUNSWICK – Two young veterans were honored for their fairly recent military service with the designation of two different intersections with secondary street signs bearing their names.

On May 21, a sign for Ieva Way was placed at Cranbury Cross Road and Waksman Place, while a marking for Smith Way adorns a post at Glenridge Avenue and Ashwood Place.

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Christopher Scott Ieva was born on Oct. 26, 1973, in Queens, New York, and moved to North Brunswick in 1983. He attended Linwood Middle School and graduated from North Brunswick Township High School in 1991.

Ieva always wanted to be a U.S. Marine while growing up in a military family, according to the proclamation read in his honor. His father served in Vietnam and his grandfather served in World War II.

Ieva attended The Citadel for one year before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering in 1996 and a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corp.

His combat deployments include East Africa in 2003, Iraq in 2005 and 2009, and Afghanistan in 2011. When he was deployed to Iraq, he was in command of his company during combat operations as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During Operations Matador and New Market, he was instrumental in limiting the power of the insurgents in the region, according to his proclamation. Ieva was awarded the Bronze Star with combat V for heroism for that mission in addition to the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon, according to the proclamation.

He was honorably discharged in September 2016.

Currently, Ieva volunteers by serving on St. Paul’s School Planning Committee in Princeton, the Central New Jersey Veterans Initiative, and has been a United States Naval Academy Blue and Gold Officer since 2012 where he assists and guides students through the U.S. Naval Academy admissions process, according to the proclamation.

He retired from the Marine Corp with the rank of lieutenant-colonel after 20 years of service. He works and lives in Princeton with his wife Michelle and their two children, Fiorello and Alexandra.

Charles Henry Smith was born on Jan. 22, 1982, in New Brunswick. He grew up in Highland Park and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1999.

Smith enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Chinook crew chief immediately after high school. He attended Army basic training in Fort Leonardwood, Missouri, and advanced training at Shepard Airforce Base, Texas. He was first stationed at Seoul Air Base Korea for two years with the Delta Company1/52nd Aviation Regiment, 17th Aviation Brigade. While in Korea, he was ordered to come home after Sept. 11, 2001, in order to prepare and deploy for the global war on terror, according to his proclamation.

In August 2003, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s Aviation Brigade in Savannah, Georgia. He would later deploy to Camp Taji, Iraq, in 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as a Chinook crew member and door gunner and flew 198 combat flights. In 2007, he would deploy to Kandahar Airbase, Afghanistan, with the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, according to his proclamation.

Smith was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on Dec. 30, 2007. He enlisted the next day for the Georgia Air National Guard as active duty C-130 crew chief. He was with the Air National Guard until December 2013 when he was honorably discharged. He flew as an aircrew member to 22 countries in support of the global war on terror and providing humanitarian support during the Russian-Georgian conflict, according to the proclamation.

During his service, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, the Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Air Crew Wings, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Basic Aviation Badge, according to the proclamation.

Smith has worked as a federal officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since April 2009. He lives in North Brunswick with his wife Bridgette and their five children, Brian, Zachary, Jayden, Paris and Sophia.

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