February 03, 2005
Honoring SFC Paul Smith
Last Memorial Day, I posted the heroic story of Army Sergeant First Class Paul Smith.
A member of the 11th Engineers, 3rd Infantry Division and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, the 33-year-old Smith pledged "all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home" from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On April 4, 2003, Smith and 17 of his "boys" were erecting a temporary POW camp near the Baghdad airport when they came under heavy fire from nearly 100 Iraqi Fadayeen troops on the left and right. Heavily outmanned and outgunned, Smith boarded an American armored vehicle, manned the .50 caliber machine gun and began laying down protective fire in both directions. Smith fired for several minutes, pinning the Fadayeen soldiers down, saving the lives of his men and buying time for reinforcements to arrive. As American reinforcements dispatched the Fadayeen troops, an Iraqi bullet smashed into Smith's neck, killing him instantly.
But, true to his word, SFC Smith's boys made it home.
Last Tuesday, Paul Smith's widow Birgit, daughter Jessica and son David were informed by the Pentagon that President Bush will award Paul our nation's highest and rarest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. The first CMH recipient since 1993, SFC Smith is also the first Iraqi Freedom veteran so honored.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the presentation ceremony will take place at the White House in March.
It's important to remember that Smith wasn't ordered to man the machine gun. In fact, he could have ordered any of his men to undertake that duty. But he didn't. He gave his life to save his men and to defend his nation. SFC Paul Smith is the best America can do.
LinksSFC Paul R. Smith MoH Tribute
CPL Jason L. Dunham MoH Tribute
LT Michael P. Murphy MoH Tribute
MA2 Michael Monsoor MoH Tribute
MSG Woodrow W. Keeble MoH Tribute
PFC Ross McGinnis MoH Tribute
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
Statues of Servicemen Fund
VFW Military Assistance Program
Wounded Warrior Project
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
Adopt A Platoon
Marines-Law Enforcement Foundation
Special Ops Warrior Foundation
America's Heroes of Freedom
Adopt A Sniper
Operation USO Care Package
Operation Military Pride
Books For Soldiers
Vets For Freedom
Gathering of Eagles
Faces of the Fallen
Reagan Presidential Library
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