Soldiers Remember Smith’s Bravery
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – He was a husband, father, Soldier and leader, but on April 4, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 51st Medal of Honor recipient, was remembered simply as a hero.
A remembrance ceremony was held in the courtyard where five years ago to the day, Smith gave his life in defense of others.
He was setting up a short-term enemy prisoner of war holding area near the Baghdad International Airport when his unit was attacked by enemy soldiers.
Outnumbered, with wounded Soldiers and damaged vehicles, Smith told his men to get back as he manned a .50- caliber machine gun from the exposed turret of an armored personnel carrier damaged by rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. He fired at the enemy and unleashed some 300 rounds allowing his other Soldiers to reorganize and mount an attack. Smith and his men defeated the enemy attack. During the attack Smith fell mortally wounded.
A disciplined, no-nonsense platoon sergeant with Company B, 11th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Inf. Div., Smith was bestowed the highest award for bravery in 2005, the Medal of Honor.
“He was a Soldier who took care of Soldiers … he lost his life doing it,” said Brig. Gen. William Grimsley, who at the time of Smith’s death was the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division commander.
Grimsley, now the deputy commander of the 4th Infantry Division, recommended Smith for the Medal of Honor and was one of several leaders who knew Smith and took a pause from operations today in order to attend the ceremony.