Derek Brigham of Freedom Dogs has arranged for a Minnesota Organization of Bloggers blogburst in memory of Sgt. Paul Smith, the first Medal of Honor recipient in the global war on terror. I wrote about Sgt, Smith when his heroism in battle first got him nominated for the posthumous award in May 2004, and again earlier this year for Memorial Day. Today is Sgt. Smith’s birthday, and thanks to his actions in protecting his men, more than 100 of them will see their next birthdays.
Here again is the story of Sgt. Paul Smith’s heroic actions:
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.
I also want to remind Minnesotans that we have an opportunity to thank our own heroes who have returned from their tours of duty. Next Saturday, September 30, the Minnesotan’s Military Appreciation Fund will stage a parade led by Eagan’s own Col. Joe Repya. The Elder has the details:
Join MMAF for an entertaining day in honor of Minnesota’s military personnel, at home and overseas. In addition to remembering our deployed friends and neighbors, this event will be a special “welcome back” for all returned troops, especially those injured overseas, capped with a day at the ballpark with the Minnesota Twins.
Events to include a 5K run, 2 Mile Walk, Celebration Events at the MetroDome “Pad” and a Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox baseball game with additional MMAF events inside the dome
All registrants to receive tickets to the Twins vs. White Sox, a t-shirt and commemorative pin. Prize drawings also available to those that bring with them the most pledges on day of the event.
MMAF 2 Mile Walk is $15 per person / $50 per family
MMAF 5K Run is $20 per person
Military personnel, their families and Scouts are Free!
I had lunch with Col. Repya on Friday — actually, CQ readers paid for it, so thank you! — and he has a surprise for everyone who shows up to the parade. Check out his new convertible that his wonderful wife allowed him to buy on his return from Iraq earlier this month. I won’t spoil it, but all I can tell you is that I wouldn’t mind driving it when people cut in front of me in traffic. Fortunately for Minnesotans, Col. Repya has a little more discipline …
Also blogging for Sgt. Paul Smith in the MOB: Andy, Matt, Brian.
BUMPED: Into Sunday. Also, Mitch has a great post about how Smith’s platoon may not have liked him much as a leader before the war, because he spent all of his time making sure they would survive it.