First soldier since Somolia(Shugart & Gordon) awarded the Medal of Honor


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Dorian
March 27, 2005, 08:29 AM
SFC Paul Smith of Tampa, FL(RIP)
3rd ID, 2-7 Inf

paraphrased by me:

April 4, 2003

His engineer team, 14-20 soldiers, rolled a bulldozer through a courtyard wall and came under ambush. They were being shot at from adjacent rooftops, and enemy soldiers were coming through the courtyard gates. They got hit by a mortar right as the ambush started, and this guy jumped out of his M113 to assist the wounded and call for help. He then ran from his area, to a scout HMMVW to get a grenade, and tossed it over a wall. Then he got back in his 113, got his driver to pull to an area that would cover both a guard tower and a gate. He proceeded to open up with his .50 cal.

His First Sergeant took two soldiers to the guard tower and took it out. While they were taking the guard tower, SFC Smith was shot in the head and killed.

SFC Smith is credited with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well equipped soldiers from the republican guard.

He was estimated to have killed between 30 and 50 soldiers of the ~100 soldier force.

Thank you for your sacrifice Sarge.

It doesn't say what his MOS was, but I'm guessing he was a combat engineer?

I got this info from the Army times that I bought around 15 min ago just to read this article.

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MikeIsaj
March 27, 2005, 09:01 AM
Here's to Sgt. Smith, American Hero. We will not forget.

I wonder why this wasn't on the evening news?

kikilee
March 27, 2005, 09:08 AM
Because it IS the evening news.

Lone Star
March 27, 2005, 10:09 AM
A British soldier has just been awarded the first Victoria Cross since the two presented for valor in the Falklands War. Another will receive the Queen's Cross For Gallantry, which has apparently replaced the DSO for combat valor.

The VC goes to an emigrant from Grenada, Pte. Beharry, only the 4th black man in history to receive the VC. He saved his wounded officer and many others while under very heavy fire in Iraq, while wounded seriously, himself. Apparently, he saved some 30 lives. He is a member of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. He is only the second man since 1969 to receive a non-posthumous award of the VC. He is also the second living VC recipient of his regiment to hold the Cross, the other survivor being an elderly Lt. Col., who probably won it in WW II or Korea.

This was big news on the BBC about a week ago, and I posted about it on another forum, and others provided links to major photo stories.

Although still recovering from grave injuries, including some to his head from a rocket, this soldier still has a sense of humor. Asked by a reporter what was "going through his head" while showing such bravery, he wryly quipped, "An RPG!".

It disgusts me to see how little coverage Sgt. Smith got on mainstream US TV, while this VC winner is a major news item, as he should be.

Queen Elizabeth II will personally present the VC to Beharry during an investiture at Buckingham Palace in April.

Lone Star

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 10:15 AM
I am ashamed ot the "journalism" that my country allows to continue.

Thanks Sarge!

GRB
March 27, 2005, 10:45 AM
I just wrote a little tribute to SFC Smith. Nothing like the medal of honor but, from my heart.

A Hero Falls

A soldier off to fight a war
may face his loved ones nevermore.
He knows not what shall be his fate
as he leaves home and closes the gate.
Yet of one thing he can be so sure
his loved ones love him with love so pure.

To the the dear ones he has left behind,
come bitter sweet memories of him to mind, -
when we as a nation, for whom he died
admit that at his passing we too cried.
We knew him not, not one bit at all.
Yet we are saddened by his valiant fall.

To arms, to arms up went the cry
and off this brave man went but to die
and now only tears are seen to fall
because this warrior heeded the call
Do not forget him in prayer and thought
for freedom it was that his life bought.

Sincerely,
GlennBartley

WT
March 27, 2005, 10:57 AM
This story has been going around for 2 years now.

Anybody notice that no official agency (DoD, US Army, Pentagon) has mentioned award of the Medal?

Hoax?

GRB
March 27, 2005, 11:12 AM
So I guess you think that the government works at a speed other than snail's pace. I don't think this is a hoax. If it were a hoax, I do not think it would be the cover story for the March 28, 2005 edition of the Army Times. Of course, you can doubt that the person who started this thread actually saw the story in the Army Times but, I don't. One of the reasons I don't is because I went to the Army Times website, not to verify his claim, but to read the complete story for myself. Sadly you need to subscribe for $55.00 to be able to see this story. Yet, you can see the cover of the edition in which said story appears. Here is a link to the Army Times page that will show you the front cover of said edition: Army Times March 28, 2005 front cover (http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-ARMYPAPER-armypaper03282005.php) Maybe the Army Times does not always get it right but, my guess is they would not print something like this unless it had been verified.

Best regards,
GB

wmenorr67
March 27, 2005, 11:14 AM
It is not a hoax. President Bush will be awarding the Medal to the family sometime in April. The White House and the Pentagon want to keep the date secret as to not overwhelm the family. The family has asked for their privacy and it is being respected.

GRB
March 27, 2005, 11:34 AM
St. Petersburg Times Article (http://www.sptimes.com/2004/webspecials04/medalofhonor/story.shtml) This is a long 5 part article about Sgt. Smith, his life and his heroics.

Dorian
March 27, 2005, 05:48 PM
I paraphrased what I posted FROM the Army times article.

That same article had an insert about the guy who is getting the victoria Cross as well.

RyanM
March 27, 2005, 06:31 PM
It disgusts me to see how little coverage Sgt. Smith got on mainstream US TV, while this VC winner is a major news item, as he should be.

+1

Though that's probably the press's not-so-subtle way of saying that saving people by dragging them to safety = good, while saving people by shooting at the enemy = bad. :(

Double Maduro
March 28, 2005, 05:41 PM
Damn, my eyes must be going bad, everything just got all blurry.

DM

Roadkill
March 28, 2005, 09:16 PM
He was a 12B/Combat Engineer

rk

bad LT
March 28, 2005, 09:57 PM
America still produces some real men. He certanly has a spot in Valhalla.

JamisJockey
March 28, 2005, 09:57 PM
Direct link
http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-729817.php
March 28, 2005

Saving lives — and giving his own
First Medal of Honor to be awarded in 12 years

By Matthew Cox and Gina Cavallaro
Times staff writers


The morning had just begun, but chaos would quickly fill the grassy courtyard of the Republican Guard complex near Baghdad.
It was April 4, 2003, the first day the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, occupied Saddam International Airport.

Soldiers with the 11th Engineer Battalion had moved into the adjacent complex to set up a temporary holding area for enemy prisoners. The Army engineers, medics and mortar operators numbered between 14 and 20 and had bashed their way into the courtyard with an armored bulldozer, believing the site to be safe. They did not know that at least 100 Iraqi soldiers were taking position inside.

Soon, they came under a hailstorm of fire. The battle would rage for more than 90 minutes, and the U.S. troops would prevail at a heavy cost.

During the fight, one soldier would distinguish himself with bravery that would save lives and cost his. For his actions, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith of Tampa, Fla., will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor, the first issued since the 1993 battle in Somalia that was the basis for the book “Black Hawk Down.”

The actions of a hero

Iraqi soldiers perched in trees launched rocket-propelled gre-nades at the troops of the 11th after they entered the courtyard. Snipers perched atop buildings opened fire with small arms as waves of their comrades began charging head-on through the main gate.

The outnumbered engineers from B Company fought back, but American casualties were mounting. Soldiers were suffering.

“We were pinned down,” 1st Sgt. Tim Campbell told Providence (R.I.) Journal Bulletin reporter Michael Corkery, who was on assignment with the 2-7. “They had this planned,” Campbell said. “They found the lightest defended area and attacked.”

The engineers took casualties almost immediately. A mortar round exploded, spraying shrapnel everywhere.

According to Corkery’s account, Smith jumped out of his M113 armored track vehicle and tended to the wounded. He identified the most serious casualties and called for help.

At one point, Smith ran to a Humvee manned by a team of scouts, grabbed a grenade and threw it over a wall, where the Iraqi soldiers were staging the attack. Then he returned to help the wounded. Smith then climbed back into the M113, which was damaged by RPG fire but still operable.

He ordered the driver, a private, to move the vehicle and put it in position to cover both the guard tower and the gate. Smith began slinging lead from the mounted .50-caliber gun, reloading and spraying hundreds of rounds.

The incessant fire coming from Smith’s machine gun gave Campbell time to figure out how to take out the guard tower, Corkery reported. ;Campbell grabbed Pfc. Kevin Garad, 18, and another soldier and advanced on the tower.

When they reached the tower, the three soldiers emptied their weapons. “There was blood everywhere,” Campbell recalled.

The shooting from the tower stopped. The Iraqi soldiers stopped running through the gate. Campbell figures that the soldiers in the tower were commanders controlling the battle. Once they were killed, the fighting stopped.

Shortly before hitting the tower, Campbell noticed that the sound of Smith’s .50-caliber had also stopped. Campbell figured Smith must be reloading again. Instead, he found Smith lying inside the vehicle. The 33-year-old father of two had been shot once in the head. The medics worked for 30 minutes but could not revive him.

His fellow soldiers credit Smith with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well-equipped soldiers from the Republican Guard, which was headed straight for the 2-7 Task Force’s Tactical Operations Center, less than a half-mile away.

“If Sgt. Smith had not done what he had done, if he had not killed those people, they would have enveloped the entire task force,” Campbell told Corkery. Capt. Michael Bliss, 29, said Smith killed between 30 and 50 enemy soldiers, though it was difficult to determine because the Iraqis were removing the dead and injured as soon as Smith hit them.

The award

The posthumous Medal of Honor ceremony for Smith will be held about the same time as the battle’s second anniversary.

The B Company platoon sergeant and veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War will be the first Medal of Honor recipient since Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart received the nation’s highest award for valor, also posthumously, for their actions the battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Oct. 3, 1993.

Gordon and Shughart were two special operations snipers who were killed while trying to save a downed helicopter’s crew. Both volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded crew members, knowing that hundreds of the enemy were closing in on the site. Their actions saved the pilot’s life.

Army officials continue to keep secret the announcement of Smith’s Medal of Honor at the request of the White House. But Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody told soldiers of the coming Medal of Honor presentation March 9 at the Army’s World Wide Public Affairs conference.

While the ceremony date is still being kept close-hold, President Bush will present the prestigious award to Smith’s family in early April, said a Pentagon source, who did not want to be named.

Soldiers of 2-7 are also trying to honor Smith in their own way while serving in Iraq. Lt. Col. Todd Wood, 2-7’s current commander, has requested an official name change for Forward Operating Base Omaha — FOB Paul Ray Smith.

The compound is on the outskirts of Tikrit and houses more than 600 soldiers of the 2-7, including some of those who helped him fight that day almost two years ago.

“He honored this tab right here,” said combat engineer Staff Sgt. Tacorrie Johnson, 26, of Raeford, N.C., pointing to the Sapper tab above his 3rd ID patch on his left arm.

Smith, he said, never got to wear the new Sapper tab because he died before it was approved for use by engineers.

“He went above and beyond just being an engineer,” Johnson said.

Staff writer Gina Cavallaro reported from Iraq.

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medmo
March 29, 2005, 02:28 AM
SFC Smith saved the lives of his fellow soldiers while sacrificing his own. There is no greater or selfless act than to give up your life to save others.

Screw the mainstream media. It is up to you and other Americans to make sure that SFC Smith's story is passed on. Pass it on to your family, folks that you work with, friends and neighbors.

There are two things that all Americans can easily do to assist.

1) Never forget SFC Smith's sacrifice and all of the others that have made the ultimate sacrifice. Make Memorial Day a day for remembering these young warriors that gave the last measure of devotion. Find out where the closest memorial service is, (usually national cemetaries), round up the family/friends and go.

2) Donate

http://www.woundedwarriorhospitalfund.org/

http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/foundation_heroesfund.html

WT
March 29, 2005, 10:51 AM
Army Times, St. Petersburg Times, - like I said, no official word.

Sort of reminds me of the reports from 2 years ago about a British SAS soldier who 'saved' a SEALs team in Afghanistan being awarded the Medal of Honor in secret.

I'd like to see more evidence, something like a DoD Press Release with the written citation. The medal award could be done in private if the family so wishes but I can't see holding up publication of the citation.

Bacon
March 29, 2005, 03:49 PM
Thank you very much for this information. My Father was a US Army Combat Engineer in the Pacific. Those guys took heavy casualties there and at Normandy.

God Bless Sgt. Smith

EasternShore
March 29, 2005, 04:12 PM
For those that want official confirmation:

http://www.centcom.mil/Operations/Iraqi_Freedom/Liberator/Lib2.pdf

Read the article on page 2 "A Great Generation, too"

nuff said

Edit: Nope not enough, one more:

http://www.stewart.army.mil/frontlineonline/archivedpages/FrontlineOnline11-20-03News.pdf

wmenorr67
March 30, 2005, 12:40 PM
For those of you who still doubt if this is going to happen or not here is link to end all doubt. It is announced that President Bush will be awarding the MEDAL to the family on 4 April. Two years to the day of this tragic event. My prayers are with SFC Smith's family in this time of happiness and sorrow. [We need a praying smiley.]
http://www.army.mil/MedalOfHonor/

Bob41081
March 30, 2005, 07:04 PM
The CBS Evening News just did a story on Sgt, Smith and his sacrifice.

Bob

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