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April 04, 2005

Sergeant First Class Paul Smith later today will be the first soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for courage above and beyond the call of duty in Iraq. Like too many recipients of the Medal of Honor, he paid for his bravery with his life, but in so doing saved the lives of dozens of his fellow soldiers.

SFC Smith is the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since Army snipers Shughart and Gordon were so honored for their actions in the 1993 Somalia mission (later immortalized in the book and film Black Hawk Down.)

SFC Smith's award will be accepted by his 11-year-old son.

Be sure to visit the online presentation, published earlier this year, which covers the whole story of SFC Smith: The Last Full Measure of Devotion.

The text of the citation for Smith's award will be available after the presentation ceremony.

Update — the citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an act of Congress, March 3rd 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, United States Army.

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action [against] an armed enemy in action 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 a hundred 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 sixty millimeter mortar round.

Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a fifty-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 fifty 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.

[Transcribed from CSPAN's coverage of the ceremony.]

Update 2: Matt has a transcript of the President's remarks.

Posted by Russ at 02:35 PM, April 4, 2005 in Soldiers/Vets

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Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith Awarded Medal of Honor Posthumously from Blogs for Bush
President Bush awarded the first Medal of Honor today to a solider killed in the War on Terror. Sergeant First Class Paul Smith, was killed fighting with against Saddam's forces for control of Baghdad airport two year ago today. Smith... [Read More]

Tracked on April 4, 2005 04:08 PM

Medal of Honor citation, awarded posthumously to S from chattr +a -V
Russell Emerson, over in Apex, has the Presidential citation for the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor to SFC Paul F. Smith, at Valor. Thank you, Sgt. Smith, and thank you, Russ. All the Medal of Honor citations are available online at Med... [Read More]

Tracked on April 4, 2005 06:10 PM