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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Native Texan to be awarded Medal of Honor

sfcsmith.jpg Thank you, SFC Smith.
Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, a native Texan, will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry during the Battle for Baghdad Airport in 2003:

Smith is the first to receive the military’s highest award for actions taken in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smith’s leadership and personal actions to engage the enemy thwarted an attack on his outnumbered platoon.
America's highest military decoration was last awarded to two Delta Force commandos who were killed during the battle for Mogadishu in 1993. The medal is awarded, by the President in the name of Congress, to a soldier who:
distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States
SFC Smith's heroism certainly met those criteria:
Sgt. 1st Class Smith fired on the advancing enemy from the unprotected position atop the APC and expended at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded by enemy fire. The enemy attack was defeated. Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed.
Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions to lead Soldiers in direct contact with a numerically superior enemy--to personally engage the enemy with a fragmentation grenade, AT-4, and individual weapon, to ultimately assume the track commander’s position to fire the .50-Cal. machinegun through at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded--demonstrates conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. His actions prevented a penetration in the Task Force 2-7 sector, defended the aid station, mortars, and scouts, and allowed the evacuation of Soldiers wounded by indirect enemy fire.
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