Monday, April 04, 2005

Medal of Honor

SFC Paul Smith has become the first receipient of the Medal of Honor in the Iraq War. The combat engineer manned a gun on an armored personnel carrier (APC) as Iraqi soldiers overran the Baghdad Airport in 2003. Fighting to the death, he bought dozens of Americans time to evacuate. Sergeant Smith was the only American life lost in the attack.

His citation reads in part:

"Sgt. 1st Class Smith fired on the advancing enemy from the unprotected position atop the APC and expended at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded by enemy fire. The enemy attack was defeated. Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed. "

Prior to Sergeant Smith, only two people have received the Medal of Honor for actions since the Vietnam War -- both in Somalia. (NPR)

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