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Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

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  • Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

    I actually just found out about this an hour or so ago while watching funny videos online. Every American alive probably knows about Auddie Murphy and how he jumped on top of a burning tank to man it's machine gun to kill 100 Nazi soldiers. I don't think many people know about Paul R. Smith. I didn't. Honestly, it's pretty difficult to put into words how much of a true hero and soldier this guy was, but there are videos on the net about it and you can read the Citation for the Medal of Honor he recieved on the Army's website and anywhere else, if you want.

    http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/smi...ion/index.html

    Basically, he and some of the guys under his leadership were setting up a POW detention area in a courtyard near Baghdad when roughly 100 Iraqi Republican Guard launched a surprise attack on his outfit. With two platoons of the Army 3rd ID, a Bradley IFV and three APCs, the attack was repulsed. During the attack, Sergeant Smith ran under heavy fire, engaged the Iraqis with grenades and AT weapons, then jumped on top of one of the burning APCs which had been hit by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round, manned the .50 caliber weapon atop it while still under fire with no cover, and personally accounted for roughly 50 Republican Guard soldiers. The Iraqis had taken position in a tower and had pinned his unit down with fire while other enemies advanced.

    Sergeant Smith was mortally wounded by a gunshot to the head.

    There's no word that you can come up with to describe Sergeant Smith and what he did.

  • #2
    Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

    I've read about him before, but solely because I was going through the Medal of Honor site. This guy was definitely a true American hero.

    Great post.
    Retired 6th DB

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    • #3
      Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

      Question, when was the last time someone was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor not posthumously, instead of being awarded the bronze or silver star?

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      • #4
        Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

        Originally posted by Sir_Brass View Post
        Question, when was the last time someone was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor not posthumously, instead of being awarded the bronze or silver star?
        The Vietnam war was the last war that brought out such heroism: http://www.cmohs.org/recipients/living_recips.htm

        But Tibor Rubin was awarded the Medal of Honor in September 2005 for his gallantry in the Korean War: http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/rubin/
        Last edited by CingularDuality; 03-09-2007, 01:35 PM. Reason: Typo
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        • #5
          Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

          Great post. I read this very same story a couple years back in "Soldier of Fortune" magazine. Thank you for reminding me of it. We all could probably stand to take more time to remember and honor the heroes of our nation who have made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless them all.
          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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          • #6
            Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

            gives me chills. i am so glad that that medal carries the prestige it deserves. not like some of the higher medals desk jockeys finagle into their service jackets. the people who earn that medal do so without any thought of the outcome of their actions. they just know what they are doing is the right thing, is the only thing... lives saved.

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            • #7
              Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

              Lt. Clyde Lassen, USN.
              http://www.history.navy.mil/seairlan...#anchor4217240
              One of my dad's co-pilots, one of my navy "uncles" and a hell of a guy. Clyde was a Medal of Honor recipient and unfortunately passed in 1994. The navy even named a ship after him, the USS Lassen (DDG 82) and they did the naming ceremony in Tampa and I got to see almost my entire Navy family cause they all knew Clyde.

              In case you're too lazy to click the link, heres what he did:
              On June 19, 1968, Lassen, then a 27 year old Lieutenant flying a UH-2 Seasprite, embarked on a mission to recover two downed naval aviators whose plane had been shot down deep in North Vietnamese territory. Upon reaching the hilly terrain where the aviators were hiding, LT Lassen made several attempts to recover the aviators, but dense tree cover, enemy weapons fire and intermittent flare illumination frustrated his efforts. Determined to complete his mission, LT Lassen turned on the landing lights of the helicopter (if anyone hasnt ever seen this, it equates to turning on the christmas lights on a house - you're completely exposed and visible), despite the danger of revealing his position to the enemy. After the pilots made their way to the helicopter and with his damaged helicopter dangerously low on fuel, LT Lassen evaded further antiaircraft fire before landing safely at sea onboard a guided missile destroyer-with only five minutes of fuel left in the helicopter's fuel lines. On a survey of the helicopter for damages, over 600 bulletholes were logged.
              He was the first aviator and fifth Navy man to be awarded the Medal of Honor in vietnam.

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              • #8
                Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

                Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
                Lt. Clyde Lassen, USN.
                http://www.history.navy.mil/seairlan...#anchor4217240
                One of my dad's co-pilots, one of my navy "uncles" and a hell of a guy. Clyde was a Medal of Honor recipient and unfortunately passed in 1994. The navy even named a ship after him, the USS Lassen (DDG 82) and they did the naming ceremony in Tampa and I got to see almost my entire Navy family cause they all knew Clyde.

                In case you're too lazy to click the link, heres what he did:
                On June 19, 1968, Lassen, then a 27 year old Lieutenant flying a UH-2 Seasprite, embarked on a mission to recover two downed naval aviators whose plane had been shot down deep in North Vietnamese territory. Upon reaching the hilly terrain where the aviators were hiding, LT Lassen made several attempts to recover the aviators, but dense tree cover, enemy weapons fire and intermittent flare illumination frustrated his efforts. Determined to complete his mission, LT Lassen turned on the landing lights of the helicopter (if anyone hasnt ever seen this, it equates to turning on the christmas lights on a house - you're completely exposed and visible), despite the danger of revealing his position to the enemy. After the pilots made their way to the helicopter and with his damaged helicopter dangerously low on fuel, LT Lassen evaded further antiaircraft fire before landing safely at sea onboard a guided missile destroyer-with only five minutes of fuel left in the helicopter's fuel lines. On a survey of the helicopter for damages, over 600 bulletholes were logged.
                He was the first aviator and fifth Navy man to be awarded the Medal of Honor in vietnam.
                Outstanding story Ferris. Thanks for sharing that with us.
                Retired 6th DB

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                • #9
                  Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

                  Awesome. True heroes.

                  DB

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                  • #10
                    Re: Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

                    Wow. Just wow.
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