Medal of Honor to be awarded to Paul R. Smith

for his heroism in Iraq. I guess this’ll be War Heroes XII.

President Bush is expected to present the medal sometime in March to Army Sgt. First Class Smith’s widow and their two children. Smith was killed during his act of heroism.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

All accounts show that First Sergeant Smith wasn’t well liked by his men. He trained them so hard, they call him the Morale Nazi. Yet this hard training helped get them through that battle, and the man they disliked wound up saving their lives.

Medals of Honor are not given for an action, however brave, that a soldier is ordered to perform. The act of bravery truly has to be above and beyond the call of duty, as it clearly was in this case.

May Paul Smith rest in peace, and may his family find comfort that his loss saved many others.

Previous War Heroes Threads - Brian Chontosh
Jason Dean Cunningham
Britt Slabinski
Justin D. Lehew
Mark E. Mitchell
John Chapman
Joseph B. Perez
Marco A. Martinez
Stephen Bass
Luis E. Fonseca Jr.
Rafael Peralta

I heard about this on NPR this morning. As with all MoH honorees, I can only wish I have half the courage these people show when the chips are down.

Hear, hear.


The sound of the proverbial crickets here is telling, is it not?

I completely concur.

“Greater love has no man than this…”

Regardless of anyone’s feelings about whether or not we should be there in the first place (which is inappropriate to discuss in MPSIMS), a soldier who gave his life that others might live, deserves all the respect we can give him.

Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.

Sgt. Smith was apparently very brave, as he was born and trained to be. Nonetheless, he died defending a patch of ground that was, if it was “near the Baghdad airport,” that was declared U.S. territory more than a year ago.

Let us celebrate a man’s courage and selflessness. Let us not confuse that with the shoddy, venal purpose his courage and selflessness was used to serve. It’s a pity that such a good man was wasted in such a mean and petty cause.

The world needs men like all of the ones Mr. Moto wishes to help us mourn. It also needs much better causes for those men, and all of us, to believe in.

I like all of these threads, but this one seems special not only because it’s the Medal of Honor, but because it highlights how a soldier doesn’t have to be warm, fuzzy and likeable to be heroic. And jumping on the back of a disabled vehicle like a modern day Audie Murphy is heroic.

You’re entitled to your opinion, King of Soup. But you have some facts wrong.

Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 19th, 2003. Baghdad fell on April 9th. Sgt. Smith was killed on the 4th, in the course of heroic action.

The medal is being awarded now because of the length of time Medal of Honor nominations need for investigation.

Paul Smith was not killed defending territory the U.S. took more than a year earlier. It is more accurate to say he fought and died taking that territory.

I assume this is aimed at those who disagree with the war.

I certainly respect the bravery of this soldier.

It seems a terrible waste of his courage for him to die in Iraq over non-existent WMD’s, and I hope that the intelligence community and the politicians who are responsible for sending him learn a lesson.

War often involves needless loss of life such as friendly fire and, in this case, the Bradley leaving. When lives are at stake, it is so important to act for the right reasons.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this make First Sergeant Smith the first MEdal of Honor winner in a decade?

As Calvin Coolidge said, “Only speak if it improves on the silence.”

I think SFC Smith’s actions speak for themselves.

2½ years; the previous one was awarded to Capt. Humbert R. “Rocky” Versace, Vietnam vet. Some of these take a long time!

Just noticed that the official CMOH site hasn’t been updated since 2003. There might have been more since Rocky.

I knew I should have phrased that to “most recent action for which a Medal of Honor had been awarded”.

You called for a response, here :

A dissenting voice in a “honor the fallen american heroes” thread is considered jerkish by a lot of people on this board, including the mods (a recent example proved it).

So, the silence should only tells you that people don’t want to appear jerkish, not that they necessarily share your feelings.

If, as some people in this thread mentionned, whether the cause was just or not doesn’t matter, where are the “honor the fallen Iraki heroes” thread? Don’t the soldiers Mr Smith killed on this day deserve as much respect as he got, for dying defending their country? If your answer is yes, then why didn’t anybody have a word for them until now?

Rest In Peace, Sgt. Smith. You have earned it.

To the best of my knowledge, this is correct. The last MOH recipients were Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart, US Army, for their heroic actions in Somalia. (Their actions were featured in the movie “Blackhawk Down”)

You can read their citations here:

No, it is not.

I read the thread when it first appeared. It caused me to reflect, and it humbled me. It humbled me to the point where no words I could have spoken would arise to the level of honor and praise men like Paul Smith deserve. So I quietly gave thanks for what I have, and thanks to Paul Smith for his courage and his commitment.


My motivation for this series of threads was the fact that heroes like Brian Chontosh and Justin Lehew weren’t being mentioned in the media at all, at a time when Lynndie England became rather infamous.

For that reason, it doesn’t bother me at all if there aren’t many responses. A fair bit of people simply reading the threads makes them a success, in my opinion.

Anyone who wants to discuss issues raised by these citations may certainly post debates, questions, or rants about them. The consensus seems to be that this would best be handled in a separate thread. Linking that thread here would be fine.

Good thread Mr Moto.
Sadly, I think 70% of the time the Medal of Honor is awarded posthumously.

Not to take anything away from Sgt Smith’s valor but part of that story said “…several boxes of ammunition fed to him by 21-year-old Pvt. Michael Seaman.”
I trust that Private Seaman was awarded military honors as well. To me what he did seems at least to be worthy of a Bronze Star.

It’s great to read about someone such as Sgt Smith who practiced what he preached. Although he was tough on the men, when the “chips were down” he didn’t hesitate to do his part.

Sad, but yet inspiring.

I don’t know what awards Michael Seaman received. I do know he survived the battle and was married in December.

There are a lot of people alive today because of his actions as well.