Bravest of the Brave: Paul R. Smith

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Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith United States

Spouse: Birgit Smith
Children: David A. Smith, Jessica M.
Parents: Donald and Janice Pvirre
Hometown: Tampa, Florida Graduated Tampa Bay
Technical High School

Enlisted: October 1989 Completed Basic
and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

Assignments: 82nd Engineer Battalion
(Bamberg, Germany), 1st Engineer Battalion (Fort Riley,
Kansas), 317th Engineer Battalion (Fort Benning, Georgia),
9th Engineer Battalion (Schweinfurt, Germany), 11th Engineer
Battalion (Fort Stewart, Georgia)

Deployments: Persian Gulf War,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Operation Iraqi Freedom

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.



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