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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    Default Medal of Honor to be postumously awarded to US soldier who died in the Iraq War

    Sgt. Paul Smith died defending dozens of his men in Baghdad

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 9:08 a.m. ET April 4, 2005

    WASHINGTON - Outnumbered and exposed, Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith stayed at his gun, beating back an advancing Iraqi force until a bullet took his life.

    Smith is credited with protecting the lives of scores of lightly armed American soldiers who were beyond his position in the battle, on April 4, 2003, near the gates of Baghdad International Airport.

    On Monday, exactly two years after Smith’s death, President Bush is awarding Smith the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor. His widow, Birgit, decided that the couple’s 11-year-old son, David, will accept the medal on his father’s behalf.

    It is only the third Medal of Honor given for actions since the Vietnam War, and the first from the Iraq war.

    Died at 33
    Smith, who was 33 when he died, was the senior sergeant in a platoon of engineers during the 3rd Infantry Division’s northward sprint toward Baghdad.

    By the morning of April 4, elements of the division had reached Baghdad and captured Baghdad International Airport, a key objective. Encircled Iraqi militiamen and Special Republican Guard forces inside launched counterattacks.

    Near the eastern edge of the airport, Smith, a veteran of the first Gulf War, had been put in charge of his unit — 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 11th Engineer Battalion — while his lieutenant went on a scouting mission.

    Smith’s mission was mundane enough — turn a courtyard into a holding pen for Iraqi prisoners of war. The courtyard, just north of the main road between Baghdad and the airport, was near an Iraqi military compound.

    Soon after Smith and some of his platoon began work, records show, one trooper spotted dozens of armed Iraqis approaching from beyond the gated walls of the courtyard. Another group of Iraqis occupied a nearby tower.

    Smith summoned a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and he and his troops gathered near the courtyard gate to fight the counterattack. An M113 armored personnel carrier joined the fray.

    The Iraqis, perhaps as many as 100, attacked with rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs. Smith threw a grenade over a wall to drive back some of the Iraqis, then fired a rocket.

    Took over machine gun
    Incoming RPGs battered the Bradley, which retreated. Then a mortar struck the M113, wounding the three soldiers inside and leaving its heavy machine gun unmanned. After directing another soldier to pull the wounded M113 crewmen to safety, Smith climbed into the machine gun position and began firing at the tower and at the Iraqis trying to rush the compound.

    His upper torso and head were exposed as he manned the gun.

    “This wasn’t a John Wayne move,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Coker, the top enlisted man in the 11th Battalion, who was near the battle. “He was very methodical. He knew he had the gate and he wasn’t going to leave it and nobody was going to make him leave it.”

    Still, Coker said, “it was absolutely amazing to stand up in that volume of fire.”

    During a stretch of 15 minutes or longer, Smith fired more than 300 rounds as Pvt. Michael Seaman, protected inside the M113, passed him ammunition.

    Then he was struck by enemy fire and mortally wounded. At almost the same time, 1st Sgt. Timothy Campbell ended the threat from the tower with a grenade, and the surviving Iraqis withdrew. Medics tried to save Smith, and he died about 30 minutes later.

    'Saved the lives' of 100 or more
    He and his comrades are credited with killing between 20 and 50 Iraqi soldiers.

    Beyond his position were American medics, scouts, a mortar unit and a command post — all lightly armed and vulnerable.

    “Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 soldiers,” according to an Army narrative.

    Smith was born in El Paso, Texas, and moved to Tampa, Fla., when he was 9. He enlisted in the Army in 1989.

    He was known for being tough on the men under his command, Coker, who has returned to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division, said in a weekend telephone interview.

    But Smith held himself to the same standard, Coker said, and he took care of his young soldiers when they needed it. Back in the United States, when one private’s wife fell seriously ill, Smith drove four hours to bring toys to their children.

    The other two post-Vietnam Medals of Honor went to Army Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon and Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart, two Delta Force troopers who died defending the crew of a helicopter that was shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia, in events depicted in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

    More than 3,400 Medals of Honor have been awarded since the decoration was created in 1861, of which more than 600 have been given posthumously.

    Military officials rigorously review any nomination for the medal in a process that can last 18 months or more. Only about 840 have been given since World War II, when the requirements were made more stringent.

    Army background on Sgt. Smith is online at www.army.mil/medalofhonor.

    © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    ____________________________________________

    for more information about MSG Gary Gordon, go here: http://www.nightstalkers.com/tfranger/memorial/gordon/

    for information about SFC Randy Shugart, go here: http://www.somf.org/moh/shugart_randall_SF.htm

    -SDD

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk TheresOnlyOneWay's Avatar
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    Stories of men like this tells you why we're the most powerful military in the world.
    Sammy did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it.
    Michael did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it.
    --------------------------
    IAMA I am a stage hand for big mainstream artists. (self.IAmA)

    Q: who was the biggest douche that you have worked with?

    A: Eddie Van Halen hands down he threatened all the stage hands that if we wernt all pushed to the side when he got off stage that he would "bash our faces in"

    Now the new David-Lee-Roth-Van Halen album, “Tokyo Dome In Concert,” is available for purchase, and it’s super, super, super, super, super, super, crazy bad. - Doug Elfman

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium
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    Damn, good read DooDoo. Thanks and my heart goes out to all our soldiers on foreign soil protecting the freedom of other countrys that need help.
    Rock the Red!!!

    "Give Doc the shotgun. They're less apt to get nervy if he's on the street howitzer."

    "Dying ain't much of a living, boy."

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  4. #4
    Eruption
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    Default you're welcome, Buschman.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buschman
    Damn, good read DooDoo. Thanks and my heart goes out to all our soldiers on foreign soil protecting the freedom of other countrys that need help.
    unfortunately, i mis-spelled "posthumously."

    i'm multi-tasking and didn't spell check.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    07.05.17 @ 10:26 AM
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    Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by Mishar McLeud; 04.04.05 at 02:48 PM.

  6. #6
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    I heard this on NPR (your fave, I know Doo) on the way to UCLA.
    An amazing story and he certainly deserves the honor.

    RIP.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  8. #8
    Eruption
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    Default actually...

    Quote Originally Posted by mistere
    I heard this on NPR (your fave, I know Doo) on the way to UCLA.
    An amazing story and he certainly deserves the honor.

    RIP.
    i'm sure you were just poking fun at me regarding NCR (National Communist Radio), but i enjoy listening to it very much.

    diane rehm and terry gross are two of the best talents on the air.

    incidentally, terry's knowledge of music is extraordinary.

  9. #9
    Eruption
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    Default

    you wanna know what really disgusts me?

    johnny cochran, a man whose most notable accomplishment was to help a notorious double-murderer evade the criminal justice system, he dies and his post receives 27 replies and nearly 600 views.

    here we have a bonafide hero, a guy whose been given this nation's highest award for valor because he literally gave his life in the defense of his fellow soldiers against overwhelming odds, and his thread is virtually ignored.

    pathetic, actually.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk Van Squalen's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 12:36 AM
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    Well, Doo, I don't wanna be the bearer of bad tidings, but I've got a good feeling the thread has received less attention not because of the subject matter, but because of its originator. You tend to stay on one track and one track only. People tend to avoid that. Maybe lighten up a little and talk about Van Halen once in a while, if you'd like more interaction. Just a thought.

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk TheresOnlyOneWay's Avatar
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    There hasn't been much action in Non at all the last few days, DooDoo.
    Sammy did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it.
    Michael did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it.
    --------------------------
    IAMA I am a stage hand for big mainstream artists. (self.IAmA)

    Q: who was the biggest douche that you have worked with?

    A: Eddie Van Halen hands down he threatened all the stage hands that if we wernt all pushed to the side when he got off stage that he would "bash our faces in"

    Now the new David-Lee-Roth-Van Halen album, “Tokyo Dome In Concert,” is available for purchase, and it’s super, super, super, super, super, super, crazy bad. - Doug Elfman

  12. #12
    Eruption
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    Default beg pardon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Squalen
    Well, Doo, I don't wanna be the bearer of bad tidings, but I've got a good feeling the thread has received less attention not because of the subject matter, but because of its originator. You tend to stay on one track and one track only. People tend to avoid that. Maybe lighten up a little and talk about Van Halen once in a while, if you'd like more interaction. Just a thought.
    a topic like this needs no sway.
    Last edited by SeriousDooDoo; 04.05.05 at 10:44 AM. Reason: one more thought:

  13. #13
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    Default

    Also, Squalen, Doo, I think it's easier to comment on Cochran
    (although I posted no comment) simply b/c he's somewhat of
    a contoversial figure and a lightning rod for debate. It's far less
    compulsory to say something positive about a positive action.
    I mean, there's really not much to debate about this story,
    doesn't neccesarily mean people don't care/aren't aware.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk WinterlessIceness's Avatar
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    Yes, I'll concur to that. It's hard to tell something original in such threads, and to reply with ordinary "yes, that's a great story"... Well I don't know, but I think people do care about it.

  15. #15
    Eruption
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mistere
    Also, Squalen, Doo, I think it's easier to comment on Cochran
    (although I posted no comment) simply b/c he's somewhat of
    a contoversial figure and a lightning rod for debate. It's far less
    compulsory to say something positive about a positive action.
    I mean, there's really not much to debate about this story,
    doesn't neccesarily mean people don't care/aren't aware.
    i wasn't looking for debate.

    my disgust is that this topic hasn't even been viewed by many people, much less commented on.

    in a larger context, i think this says a lot about the American pop culture. no substance, all style. so much so that the lines that distinguish notorious versus famous no longer exist.

    America's heroes are all pop culture freaks.

    kurt cobain puts a gun in his mouth, a horrible tragedy indeed, but aside from his marriage to courtney love, his contributions to society were just what exactly?

    SFC Smith dies doing everything right, and for the right reasons, and his death is mourned by whom? or, more importantly, his actions celebrated by whom?

    it's a question of what really matters versus what merely entertains.

 

 

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