BAKERSFIELD, CA-- The community gathered Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to pay their respects to Tech Sergeant Mark Smith.
Smith was a rescue helicopter flight engineer. The Air Force said he was responsible for saving lives of his fellow service members.
His family says Smith died doing what he loved.
"To me it shows the love for my nephew," said Jesse Aranda, Smith's uncle. "For people to come out and show their respect and the love for their country we have."
Smith was killed August 5 in Okinawa, Japan when the helicopter he was aboard crashed during a training mission.
He served two tours in Afghanistan and was photographed during a rescue mission. It was a photograph that was seen around the world.
"He didn't do it for the pay, they don't make much, said Aranda. "He just enjoyed doing his job and planned on making it a career."
When the Centennial High School grad returned home, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Smith is survived by his wife and two daughters and will be remembered by his family as a humble man.
"A very quiet humble man," Aranda said. "Always happy, always smiling, loved his family dearly, his kids."
Smith is due to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery September 5th.