SFC Paul Ray Smith

SFC Paul Ray Smith

September 23, 1969 - April 4, 2003

Iraq War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

He served in the United States Army during the conflict in Iraq as a Sergeant 1st Class in the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery in Baghdad, Iraq on April 4, 2003. His citation reads "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". His Medal was awarded to his family at the White House by President George W. Bush on April 4, 2005. He was cremated and per his wishes his ashes were scattered in the Gulf of Mexico where he enjoyed fishing. A memorial marker was erected for him in Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. After the awarding of his Medal, the memorial was removed to Arlington National Cemetery.

Obituary

Hinesville - Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, 33, Bravo Company, Eleventh Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry, died heroically leading his squad in battle on Friday, April 4, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

SFC Smith was a native of El Paso, TX and lived in Hinesville for the past 5 years having moved here from Germany. Born September 24, 1969 and raised in the Tampa, FL area, he was a 1989 graduate of Tampa VoTech. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he began his 13-year career. During his service he received many awards, ribbons, and medals including, five Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, a Kuwait Liberation Medal, a NATO Liberation Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, a SGT Morales Club, and for his courageous actions during combat, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Survivors: his wife of 11 years, Birgit Smith of Hinesville, son, David Anthony Smith of Hinesville; daughter, Jessica Martha Smith of Hinesville; mother and father, Janice and Donald Pvirre of Holiday, FL; brother, Anthony Wayne Smith of Tampa, FL; sisters, Lisa Devane of Smyrna and Cristina Marie Smith of Marietta; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services with Full Military Honors: 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 12 at the Chapel of the Thomas L. Carter Funeral Homes with Rev. Roger Wilkins officiating. The family asks that the media not use this opportunity to contact the family members bur respectfully call Public Affairs at Ft. Stewart. Pallbearers: Members of the United States Army. Remembrances: The American Red Cross Army Relief Fund. Thomas L. Carter Funeral Home

Savannah Morning News, April 12, 2003


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