3rd ID engineer to receive the Medal of Honor [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Bonk
02-03-2005, 14:23
Found this on arf.com, can't find the original link

Iraq hero joins hallowed group

President Bush will present America's top award for bravery to the family of the sergeant who died defending his soldiers.

By ALEX LEARY, Times Staff Writer
Published February 2, 2005.


Sgt. Paul Smith (right) is the first soldier from the Iraq war to get the medal, which hadn't been awarded since 1993.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, who spent his boyhood in Tampa, became a man in the Army and died outside Baghdad defending his outnumbered soldiers from an Iraqi attack, will receive America's highest award for bravery.

President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Smith's wife, Birgit, and their children Jessica, 18, and David, 10, at a ceremony at the White House, possibly in March.

The official announcement will come soon, but the Pentagon called Mrs. Smith with the news Tuesday afternoon.

"We had faith he was going to get it," Mrs. Smith said from her home in Holiday, "but the phone call was shocking. It was overwhelming. My heart was racing, and I got sweaty hands. I yelled, "Oh, yes!' ... I'm still all shaky.

"People know what's he's done ... people know that to get a Medal of Honor you have to be a special person or do something really great."

What Paul Smith did on April 4, 2003, was climb aboard an armored vehicle and, manning a heavy machine gun, take it upon himself to cover the withdrawal of his men from a suddenly vulnerable position. Smith was fatally wounded by Iraqi fire, the only American to die in the engagement.

"I'm in bittersweet tears," said Smith's mother, Janice Pvirre. "The medal isn't going to bring him back. ... It makes me sad that all these other soldiers have died. They are all heroes."

With the medal, Smith joins a most hallowed society.

Since the Civil War, just 3,439 men (and one woman) have received the Medal of Honor. It recognizes only the most extreme examples of bravery - those "above and beyond the call of duty."

That oft-heard phrase has a specific meaning: The medal cannot be given to those who act under orders, no matter how heroic their actions. Indeed, according to Library of Congress defense expert David F. Burrelli, it must be "the type of deed which, if he had not done it, would not subject him to any justified criticism."

From World War II on, most of the men who received the medal died in the action that led to their nomination. There are but 129 living recipients.

Smith is the first soldier from the Iraq war to receive the medal, which had not previously been awarded since 1993. In that year, two Army Special Services sergeants were killed in Somalia in an action described in the bestselling book Black Hawk Down.

The officer who called Birgit Smith on Tuesday nominated her husband for the medal.

Lt. Col. Thomas Smith (no relation) sent in his recommendation in May 2003, beginning a process that involved reviews at 12 levels of the military chain of command before reaching the White House. On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Smith expressed satisfaction that the wait was over, and great admiration for his former subordinate.

In the Army, he said, you hear about men who won the Medal of Honor. "You think they are myths when you read about them. It's almost movielike. You just don't think you'd ever meet someone like that."

Paul Smith, he said, was not a "soft soldier" who suddenly got tough under fire. "This was a guy whose whole life experience seemed building toward putting him in the position where he could do something like this. He was demanding on his soldiers all the time and was a stickler for all the things we try to enforce. It's just an amazing story."

Lt. Col. Smith commanded the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, during the American attack on Iraq, which began March 20, 2003. On the morning of April 4, the engineers found themselves manning a roadblock not far from Baghdad International Airport.

A call went out for a place to put some Iraqi prisoners.

Sgt. Smith volunteered to create a holding pen inside a walled courtyard. Soon, Iraqi soldiers, numbering perhaps 100, opened fire on Smith's position. Smith was accompanied by 16 men.

Smith called for a Bradley, a tank-like vehicle with a rapid fire cannon. It arrived and opened up on the Iraqis. The enemy could not advance so long as the Bradley was in position. But then, in a move that baffled and angered Smith's men, the Bradley left.

Smith's men, some of whom were wounded, were suddenly vulnerable.

Smith could have justifiably ordered his men to withdraw. Lt. Col. Smith believes Sgt. Smith rejected that option, thinking that abandoning the courtyard would jeopardize about 100 GIs outside - including medics at an aid station.

Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman. As the battle wound down, Smith was hit in the head. He died before he could be evacuated from the scene. He was 33.

The Times published a lengthy account of the battle, and Smith's life in January 2004. It can be seen at www.sptimes.com/paulsmith

Sgt. Matthew Keller was one of the men who fought with Smith in the courtyard. "He put himself in front of his soldiers that day and we survived because of his actions," Keller said Tuesday from Fort Stewart in Georgia. "He was thinking my men are in trouble and I'm going to do what is necessary to help them. He didn't care about his own safety."

Some of the men who fought alongside Smith were sent back to Iraq last month. Keller, 26, is scheduled to return Feb. 15, but was scrambling Tuesday to delay his deployment to attend the medal ceremony in Washington.

"I want to be there to support the family and show thanks for what Sgt. Smith did," Keller said.

Mrs. Smith moved to Holiday after her husband's death, to be near his parents. Her daughter, Jessica, recently moved out on her own and is thinking about going to college. Son David is a fifth-grader at Sunray Elementary School in Holiday.

"From the beginning (David) didn't show much feelings, keeping to himself," Mrs. Smith said. "He thinks if he brings it up it will make me sad. He's trying to be the strong one. The day Paul left for Iraq he told David, "You're the man in the house now.'

"Paul is not forgotten," she said. "He's part of history now. It makes me feel proud, so honored that I was allowed to be part of Paul's life. Even today he's probably laughing at all of us, saying "You're making way too big a deal out of me.'

"He did what he had to do to protect his men, not to get a medal."

fnfalman
02-03-2005, 18:37
Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis,
-----------------------------------------------

A modern day Audie Murphy, except that he wasn't quite as lucky. Hoo-ah!!! Sappers all the way, Sarge!

erikd65
02-03-2005, 23:44
I hope this isn't another PR stunt by Bush. If that were the case, it would be a crying shame to use that brave man like that.

WIG19
02-08-2005, 09:12
Originally posted by erikd65
I hope this isn't another PR stunt by Bush. If that were the case, it would be a crying shame to use that brave man like that.
Any MOH presentation is going to be a photo-op for whomever occupies the position of CinC. There isn't a single President that doesn't use it in some manner to reinforce their position. But it started with the recommendation at the unit level. Forget about it; it's not about the occupant of the White House. To focus on anything other than SFC Smith denigrates his sacrifice.
;?

RussP
02-08-2005, 16:30
Originally posted by erikd65
I hope this isn't another PR stunt by Bush. If that were the case, it would be a crying shame to use that brave man like that. Are you saying the CinC "fixed" the MOH presentation as a PR stunt?

baileym76
02-09-2005, 04:25
Let's not turn this posting about a slain soldier into a political debate. Start a new thread for that please.

Godspeed SFC Smith!

CarlosDJackal
02-11-2005, 12:58
Has anyone seen anything official about this? Not that I don't think that SFC SMith deserves the MOH. It's just that from what I have gathered his Commanding Officer may have jumped the gun on this.

Can anyone post an official (as in DOD or DA) announcement on this?

erikd65
02-11-2005, 19:28
Originally posted by RussP
Are you saying the CinC "fixed" the MOH presentation as a PR stunt?

Hard to say, but I would not count it out.

RussP
02-12-2005, 20:27
erikd65, as one Air Force Veteran to another, I think you are wrong.

We have two sons in the military. One is a Major in the Army Reserves who fought with the 101st in Desert Storm. He was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" for Valor.

The other is my first born, a 1stLt with the Texas National Guard, 36th ID, 56th BCT now in Iraq. He always knew he would join the military. He wanted Air Force, so he graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering, but when they told him his eyes would not let him fly, he went Army Reserve. After a couple years he decided to opt out, but after 9/11, he reenlisted in the Guard, "In case they need me, Dad," is what he said.

Well, now they need him. His unit is responsible for convoy escorts in southern Iraq.

erikd65, with that background, let me tell you that I would expect my son to do what Sgt Smith did, put himself in a position to protect his Soldiers. When I told him to be carefull, I guess my tone of voice had an edge, because he answered, "Dad, if there is a critical mission that I know my team can do better than anyone else, would you want me to send anyone else?"

erikd65, as a photographer I had the opportunity to attend medal award ceremonies and in every case, the receipient was humble, and those making the presentation were proud and evocative. The higher the award, the higher the rank of the presenter, and somtimes there were more than one who wanted to "talk" about the receipient. Often, they had lots of stars on their shoulders when it was the DFC, or Silver Star and definitely for the Air Force Cross.

If either of our sons were put in the position to perform at the extraordinary level that someone believed The Medal of Honor was appropriate, trust me, I would be disappointed if the Commander In Chief did NOT want to make the presentation. It is the highest honor this nation can bestow. Shouldn't the ceremony be presided over by the CinC? I think yes.

Sgt Smith paid the ultimate price defending his soldiers. Lets honor him and every other American serving and sacrificing by allowing them to be given due honor and respect.

RussP

CarlosDJackal
02-28-2005, 11:04
Isn't it amazing just how hypocratic the anti-Bush people are? If he were to award a well-deserving soldier the MOH, he is milking the PR opportunity. If he were to opt out of the award ceremony, he would be labelled as an uncaring person.

If anything convinced me that this POTUS actually cares about the troops, it was when he secretly flew into Baghdad to actually SERVE the troops Thanksgiving Dinner back in 2003(?). While Hillary and her entourage made the troops wait, and cut in front of the mess line, The President of the United States actually got behing the chow line and served up teh food. As someone who was taught to let his troops ahead of myself, this speaks volumes.

Anyone who is willing to do risk his very own life to help life the morale of our troops; is probably not the type of person to award a MOH just for publicity's sake. JM2CW.

WIG19
03-01-2005, 07:54
Originally posted by CarlosDJackal
While Hillary and her entourage made the troops wait, and cut in front of the mess line,
This is not conjecture. She despises the military, period. Make no mistake about that. If elected she would not only be a chief executive who never served but one who detests those who guard her walls. She deserves no further space in this thread.
;?

txleapd
03-07-2005, 19:39
"Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman."

Not to change the subject, but it sounds like Private Seaman had some balls on him too... I wonder if he's getting anything. IMHO he deserves some recognition also.

RussP
03-08-2005, 14:08
Everyone needs to read and listen to what is on this site.

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/story.shtml

From a letter sent to his parents, Smith wrote, "There are two ways to come home, stepping off the plane and being carried off the plane. It doesn't matter how I come home because I am prepared to give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home."

Well, he did.

;w ;? ;w

http://fototime.com/1AE62D2226D6FB6/standard.jpg

RussP
03-08-2005, 15:25
Originally posted by txleapd
"Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman."

Not to change the subject, but it sounds like Private Seaman had some balls on him too... I wonder if he's getting anything. IMHO he deserves some recognition also. I agree, I haven't found anything on Seaman, yet...Got sidetracked with this website...
:)

Black Tiger
04-02-2005, 23:52
Originally posted by RussP
Everyone needs to read and listen to what is on this site.

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/story.shtml

From a letter sent to his parents, Smith wrote, "There are two ways to come home, stepping off the plane and being carried off the plane. It doesn't matter how I come home because I am prepared to give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home."

Well, he did.

;w ;w

http://fototime.com/1AE62D2226D6FB6/standard.jpg

God bless SFC Smith, his kind are a rare breed even within our ranks. He should be a shining example to all of us.

NCOS - THE BACKBONE OF THE ARMY - HOOAH ;?

RussP
04-04-2005, 09:46
http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/04/Tampabay/Soldier_s_story_moves.shtml

Soldier's story moves readers to write in
By Times Staff
Published April 4, 2005

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In summer 2002, Dave Bock drove up to the main gate of Fort Stewart, Ga. He had come to visit his new grandson.

Bock, a retired Army officer, showed his ID to the private on guard. He thought his car might be searched, although sometimes "I am merely waved in with a curt, "Thank you, sir."'

Bock expected nothing more. The Vietnam vet described himself as "just another old man coming on the post."

On this evening, though, the young private didn't just wave in Bock. He said something Bock couldn't hear, and out of the shadows stepped a soldier wearing the stripes of a sergeant first class, with "Smith" sewn on his uniform.

Smith, Bock would write later, "looked at my wife and with one swift motion dipped his head down and then up as one might have years ago when lifting your hat to a woman as a gesture of respect. His eyes then riveted back to mine."

Then, in a soft voice, Smith ordered: Present arms.

"He and the PFC rendered a perfect salute. I returned it."

"I was in tears," Bock said. "It's hard to explain the way two men who have been there, done that, just give each other respect. It's almost like two brothers."

* * *

In February, Bock saw stories about Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith on the St. Petersburg Times Web site. They reported that Smith would receive a posthumous Medal of Honor for his action in combat outside Baghdad. One of the stories allowed readers to leave messages in a guestbook. Bock was one of more than 990 people to do so.

Most of the guestbook entries follow similar themes: thanks to Smith for his sacrifice; condolences and prayers for his family; thoughts on the "price of freedom"; repeated references to "Greater love hath no man ... "; "HOOah" from soldiers and " "Semper fi " from Marines. Other entries, like Bock's, were more unusual.

* * *

A few messages came from overseas:

"Even in France, there are some people who admire the sacrifice of the US GIs, especially of Sgt. Smith. (There are) those in my country who are not intelligent enough, too ignorant, to understand and to respect what the guys are doing there."

* * *

From a soldier's girlfriend:

"My boyfriend, PV2 Waak, was there the day SFC Smith died ... and tells me the stories of that day. I, along with Waak, believe that Paul saved their lives that day, and while I am saddened, even heartbroken, that you lost the love of your life, I am (grateful) for him being there, so I can have mine back."

* * *

From a teacher:

"As a 30-year educator and history teacher, I intend to make Paul's story a routine classroom assignment. Students today need to learn that it is only through the sacrifice of men such as Sgt. Smith that they have the luxury to pursue their education in peace."

* * *

From a West Point cadet:

"I have spent about an hour reading (Smith's story) ... I got the link from another cadet who got it from another cadet, so I'm sure many members of the Corps have seen it. As future leaders of the Army, we can only hope that upon graduation we are able to lead men as devoted to their profession, country and fellow soldiers as SFC Smith was."

* * *

From a parent:

"We do not glorify the horrors of war in our family. But when my two boys, ages 9 and 10 and my 6-year-old daughter wake up today and eat breakfast, before school they will read a printed version of this (story). ... They will be reminded there are and have been many others like him and for that reason they will have a safe, peaceful day."

* * *

From an opponent of the war:

"The soldiers murdering the Iraqi people have no business being there. They should put down their guns, and refuse to serve this illegal war which violates the very Constitution the soldiers have sworn to uphold."

* * *

From a retired Polish paratrooper:

"Paul is still standing arm to arm with his fellow soldiers: Americans, Brits, Australians, Poles and many, many others fighting in right cause."

[Last modified April 4, 2005, 06:06:28]

Daver308
04-04-2005, 12:38
Here is a link to coverage of this story.


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152338,00.html

;?

CarlosDJackal
04-10-2005, 16:35
Originally posted by RussP
http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/04/Tampabay/Soldier_s_story_moves.shtml
This one put a tear in my eye:

From a soldier's girlfriend:

"My boyfriend, PV2 Waak, was there the day SFC Smith died ... and tells me the stories of that day. I, along with Waak, believe that Paul saved their lives that day, and while I am saddened, even heartbroken, that you lost the love of your life, I am (grateful) for him being there, so I can have mine back."

Soldiers don't earn the MOH for the prestige, movie contracts, or the title. They do it for their comrades, their brothers-in-arms.

"GREATER LOVE THAN THIS HAS NO MAN, TO GIVE UP HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIEND." - John 15:13

RussP
04-11-2005, 06:07
Originally posted by CarlosDJackal
...
Soldiers don't earn the MOH for the prestige, movie contracts, or the title. They do it for their comrades, their brothers-in-arms.

"GREATER LOVE THAN THIS HAS NO MAN, TO GIVE UP HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIEND." - John 15:13 Amen Carlos...

Sapperstang
05-29-2005, 14:23
;? Sappers lead the way.

Linh40
06-15-2005, 22:16
Originally posted by txleapd
"Sgt. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop an abandoned armored personnel carrier and fought off the Iraqis, going through several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman."

Not to change the subject, but it sounds like Private Seaman had some balls on him too... I wonder if he's getting anything. IMHO he deserves some recognition also.

Most of the time it would be the other way around. The PFC would be the gunner but that's one good NCO taking the lead. Wish we had more NCO like that. I'm pretty sure PVT Seaman got something most likely a broze star.

Black Tiger
07-23-2005, 10:30
I recently toured my old duty station at Ft. Stewart ( I served with E Co. 2/7th Infantry from 1992-1995) and visited the museum and I was witness to a section which was dedicated to SFC Smith; I took pictures of it and wanted to post them for you all to see; they have, among other items, SFC Smith's personal weapon and LBV on display.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a362/Sablelieger/Others/DSC03007.jpg
His personal Weapon, an M4A1 Carbine; you can see his LBV on the left corner of the picture.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a362/Sablelieger/Others/DSC03005.jpg
A unit picture of his unit, B Co. 11th Engineer Bn.; he is in the center of the picture in the back row.

In a rather ironic twist of fate, the most famous decorated soldier of WW2, Lt. Audie Murphy hailed from the 3rd ID, much like SFC Smith did; they were both awarded the MOH in similar fashion; during combat by defending their fellow soldiers by engaging the enemy with a .50 caliber BMG atop a disabled armored vehicle (Lt Murphy on an M4A3 Sherman and SFC Smith on an M113A1 APC); both men understood that failure to take action would've meant a sure death to their fellow soldiers.

A true example of the WARRIOR ETHOS (http://www.army.mil/warriorethos/).

3RD INFANTRY DIVISION - THE ROCK OF THE MARNE.

GreenBeret1631
07-23-2005, 19:21
Originally posted by Sapperstang
;? Sappers lead the way.

Actually, RANGERS LEAD THE WAY — HooAh!;z

lethrnk
08-31-2005, 11:48
;?

11-22-2005, 12:07
SFC Smith represents the very best that the military, God and men have to offer.

Our sympathies and undying gratitude to his family for their sacrifice.

CADdrafter
12-18-2005, 12:29
Originally posted by Sapperstang
;? Sappers lead the way.

^c ~2

CombatMedic
12-23-2005, 19:52
This happened on OIF 1. It only took a couple years for the president to react to it. As a matter of Fact this guy was in my briage. 1st brigade combat team. I've been in Iraq1 since last January 8th and i'm flying out of here on December 31st. It's been a long year and my briage has suffured. Our figuresd are nearly 60 dead and in the neighborhood of 600 wounded. I've seen my fair share of blood. More then i would want to in an entire lifetime but that's the job i've chosen as a medic. Anyways, I can't wait to see my wife and children

Show Killer
01-22-2006, 21:32
:patriot: :patriot: :patriot: :patriot:

http://www.mishalov.com/images/smith%20moh%20grave.jpg

Fred Hansen
01-22-2006, 21:39
I am without words.

;? ;1 ;? ;w ;1 ;? ;w ;1 ;?

SIGShooter
08-10-2006, 11:24
I have to say right now I have quite a few tears in my eyes. I have lost a lot of great friends in Afghanistan and Iraq. I hope that his family gets through this extremely hard time. My heart and prays go out to them.

Juliet Lima
06-11-2007, 00:47
Any soldier that get presented the Medal of Honor deserves it. It's a long selection process that starts from their commander all the way up to the CinC. I'm amazed that with all of the soldiers that have died in Iraq we are only now seeing the first of MOH. To think that a MOH has anything to do with the President is absurd.

I am always humbled when someone puts the lives of their fellow soldiers before themselves. SFC Paul Smith deserves all of our gratitude and respect for his Ultimate Sacrifice. From one Sergeant to another...I salute you and RIP.

SSgt Lindsey

NormalRandy
09-20-2007, 14:40
Sappers Forward

syntaxerrorsix
10-07-2007, 14:38
+1

jekbrown
07-22-2008, 08:20
Any soldier that get presented the Medal of Honor deserves it. It's a long selection process that starts from their commander all the way up to the CinC. I'm amazed that with all of the soldiers that have died in Iraq we are only now seeing the first of MOH. To think that a MOH has anything to do with the President is absurd.

x2... with the addition that there have been plenty of guys in US military history that have definitely deserved one but just never got it due to a lack of witnesses or the witnesses being killed soon-thereafter, political considerations (Teddy Roosevelt...) or racial discrimination. The point is, if anything, not enough have been issued. Those who have earned one, have done just that.

SAG
01-24-2009, 21:03
Thank you, Sgt. Smith.
I am sorry for the political bull**** presented here. You are a hero and deserve better.

I was never challenged as you were, and I can only hope that I would have done the same for my men if duty called. Few can claim to be your equal.

Rest in peace, Sarg. You did good.

Fred Hansen
01-24-2009, 21:29
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith
United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

:crying: :sadangel: :patriot:

ganooch
04-24-2009, 16:56
A hero in the truest sense of the word.

ShootingTargets7.com
08-03-2013, 21:16
Any MOH presentation is going to be a photo-op for whomever occupies the position of CinC. There isn't a single President that doesn't use it in some manner to reinforce their position. But it started with the recommendation at the unit level. Forget about it; it's not about the occupant of the White House. To focus on anything other than SFC Smith denigrates his sacrifice.
;?


Good to see another 10th mtn guy in here...

was 511th MP Co in early 90's

Thank you, SFC. Smith

Courage Under Fire Is The True Test Of A Man!
You sir, passed the test, and then some well done!