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Honoring An American Hero: Paul Smith – Medal of Honor Winner in Iraq

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 3:41 pm - March 24, 2006.
Filed under: General,War On Terror

Since our wonderfully “fair” national news media is so inept and celebrating America’s success in the War on Terror, I am determined to highlight our American heroes when I become aware of them.

Medals – Liberty Just In Case (hat tip: Instapundit)

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 30, 2005) — The White House announced March 29 that President George W. Bush will honor Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith by presenting his family the Medal of Honor on April 4, the second anniversary of his courageous actions during the Battle of Baghdad Airport.

Smith is the first to receive the military’s highest award for actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In action near the Baghdad Airport on April 4, 2003, Smith, a Soldier in Company B, 11th Engineer Battalion, working with units of the 3rd Infantry Division, was tasked to build a compound to hold enemy prisoners, when his small force came under attack by more than 100 enemies.

Smith threw two grenades and fired rocket launchers at the enemy before manning a .50-caliber machine gun on an M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier to protect his troops. While engaging an enemy attacking from three sides, Smith fired more than 300 rounds from the machinegun before being killed.

He prevented the enemy from overtaking his units position, protected his Task Forces flank, and defended the lives of more than 100 Soldiers, according to his award citation.

Smith was serving as a platoon sergeant in Bravo Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, Task Force 2-7, 3rd Infantry Division. He had been serving in the Army since October 1989.

The question is, as Liberty rightly asks, why did I not hear of Paul R. Smith last year when he was given the Medal of Honor? I guess Valerie Plame was too damn important, huh?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

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40 Comments

  1. Total agreement.

    A search of the ABC.com website shows several print media stories, nothing immediately identifiable as MSN television.

    FoxNews has a listing for their daytime talk show, with an interview with wife one or two days after the ceremony.

    Comment by Gene — March 24, 2006 @ 3:59 pm - March 24, 2006

  2. Your behind the curve on this one Bruce, not to mention you could have looked at say, http://www.armytimes.com or milblogs. I’ve been reading about Paul Smith since before he was even nominated.

    You know Bruce, you should really get some more milblogs on your blogroll.

    Here is a quick short list of must-reads:

    http://www.Blackfive.net
    http://www.themudvillegazette
    http://www.lt-smash.us/

    On blackfive’s site be sure to look at the “someone you should know” category.

    By the way, here is another American MOH winner who’s recent passing you have missed.

    And a conscientious objector to boot.

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2006/03/godspeed_desmon.html

    Compare him to the sour ilk of conscientious objectors hanging out with the likes of Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 24, 2006 @ 5:00 pm - March 24, 2006

  3. Bruce, I’ve been trumpeting this true hero for months. Thanks for finally giving him some time on this particular site!

    Eric in Hollywod

    Comment by HollywoodNeoCon — March 24, 2006 @ 6:03 pm - March 24, 2006

  4. Hmmmm. Check your comment call in your index.php file. Your blog is not showing the correct number of comments in parens.

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 24, 2006 @ 6:05 pm - March 24, 2006

  5. I hate to say this, but a Medal of Honor ceremony doesn’t make for good television news. It can be terrific reading, especially when the story is as remarkable as Smith’s, but on television the all-important element of conflict just isn’t there. The networks’ refusal to cover the ceremony doesn’t expose ideological bias (this time) so much as it reflects the nature of television news — and from a telejournalist’s perspective, a White House reception doesn’t really qualify as a story.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 24, 2006 @ 6:41 pm - March 24, 2006

  6. I recall seeing the ceremony on one of the cable news channels, I remember seeing President Bush give the medal to Smith’s little boy with his Mom nearby. It was covered.

    I think the sad state of affairs is is that there simply are not enough people around today who even know what the Medal of Honor is and what it signifies in the first place.

    Actually I went on a little scavanger hunt to try and find out what were the awards given out in OIF and OEF, and ended up truly being a scavanger hunt, the DOD does not seem to have the information in one place, you have to go to each separate service to find out.

    There have also been about 15 “Cross” awards given out, which are the 2nd highest award after the Medal of Honor. I had only heard of three.

    I don’t think you can blame this all on media bias. I had to do quite some digging around DOD websites to find the information. I think the DOD does a terrible job of public relations on the medals. I think they may even leave it up to each service branch. The only PR I could find on combat awards was on Paul Smith through the Defend America portal buried under special reports.

    http://www.dod.mil/home/features/2005/Medal-of-Honor/

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 24, 2006 @ 7:20 pm - March 24, 2006

  7. Yeah, and the photo op will do NOTHING for the President, right? You seem to be implying that it’s a selfless act on the part of Bush.

    Since you’re peddling the notion of giving credit where due, be sure you don’t give credit where it’s not due.

    Comment by God of Biscuits — March 24, 2006 @ 9:50 pm - March 24, 2006

  8. GOB….

    Give it a rest, man. This cat, regardless of his political ideology, is a certified STUD!

    If you can admit that much, then we’re in a much better position to discuss the politicians that sent him there.

    In other words, lets agree that the guy’s a hardcore soldier, THEN we can argue about the war. I’m sincerely interested in debating the war with you, but until I’m sure you recognize what this guy has done, anything you say about the WOT seems somewhat “insincere.”

    Hope I’ve made my point, because there’s no snark intended, dude!

    Eric in Hollywood

    Comment by HollywoodNeoCon — March 24, 2006 @ 10:34 pm - March 24, 2006

  9. Yes you are right, how come you did not hear about this story? I mean all this attention on people being killed, soldiers dying, civil war outbreak, lack of a Iraqi army that can defend for itself, it’s just to negative, just where is the positive propaganda? Oh i know, buried under all the facts, i love it when people act the true story of Iraq is not being represented, because it’s not nice a fuzzy. The reality of the situation is, reporters are over there risking their lives to bring the story home to us, and the truth is Bombs and people dying is a little more important than Fresh water and Electricity. Should these stories be covered, abosoloultly, but the main stream press, has little time to cover everything, the most important issues come first. Fox News & MSNBC and CNN should be the ones talking about all the small items, which also tend to be the good things that are going on, instead the rehash for 8 hours the same old news stories until primtime, and let some ego inflated pundits repeat the same news story you heard 10 million times, don’t blame the main stream press, when they have at most a half hour each day to cover it, blame the 24 hours news channels that are failing to bring the full story that they could if they were not so tied up in their own political agendas, on the right or left.

    Comment by Robert Bayn — March 25, 2006 @ 1:20 am - March 25, 2006

  10. eric, I never commented on the man’s soldiering one way or another. I’m sorry he died. I’m sorry anyone has died. I support the lives of the soldiers, and there, their lives are in jeopardy.

    Go ahead and accuse anyone opposed to the war as being anti-soldier, but you’re just wrong.

    But Bruce’s posting seems more interested in pumping up Bush and slamming the media than in this guy’s death! As if Bush bestowed the medal for SOLELY military reasons.

    Comment by God of Biscuits — March 25, 2006 @ 2:05 am - March 25, 2006

  11. But Bruce’s posting seems more interested in pumping up Bush and slamming the media than in this guy’s death! As if Bush bestowed the medal for SOLELY military reasons.

    WTF are you smokin’?

    Are we talking about the same post here? Are you sure you’re even commenting on the right blog?

    Holy flirking schnitt! I didn’t realize you could go further off the deep end than, say, Cindy Sheehan. Obviously you can.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 25, 2006 @ 5:23 am - March 25, 2006

  12. The question is, as Liberty rightly asks, why did I not hear of Paul R. Smith last year when he was given the Medal of Honor?

    Maybe because your internet search skills need updating. From the NYTimes, after a minor search:

    Medal of Honor to Be Awarded to Soldier Killed in Iraq, a First

    *Please Note: Archive articles do not include photos, charts or graphics. More information. March 30, 2005, Wednesday
    By ERIC SCHMITT (NYT); National Desk
    Late Edition – Final, Section A, Page 13, Column 1, 1159 words
    DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 1159 WORDS -Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, killed nearly two years ago defending his vastly outnumbered Army unit in a fierce battle with elite Iraqi troops for control of Baghdad’s airport, will receive the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, administration officials said Tuesday

    You’d need to pay for the rest of the article. I won’t pay for any NYTimes article, so I didn’t get the rest of the article.

    BTW, you might try doing a search on http://www.google.com using the key words “paul smith medal of honor” You might be surprised what you get.

    Comment by raj — March 25, 2006 @ 8:34 am - March 25, 2006

  13. raj I think the point is that if you have to search to find out about him, then there wasn’t enough coverage. I mean honestly, I think most of us could tell you every detail of Natalie Holloway’s life and disappearance, you would think a medal of honor winner would have gotten at least a little more coverage.

    I sometimes think what this generation is really missing are real heros.

    Comment by just me — March 25, 2006 @ 9:16 am - March 25, 2006

  14. I think the point is that if you have to search to find out about him, then there wasn’t enough coverage

    THis is a joke, right? It happened a year ago. Of course someone would have to do a search to find out what happened a year ago.

    Why didn’t Bruce hear about it a year ago? Maybe he wasn’t paying attention.

    Comment by raj — March 25, 2006 @ 9:42 am - March 25, 2006

  15. 8: This cat, regardless of his political ideology, is a certified STUD!

    Well … not now he isn’t. :^(

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 25, 2006 @ 9:48 am - March 25, 2006

  16. Bruce:

    Thanks for the story…this is the first I heard of it. So, all you naysayers..stop the moaning about “Bruce or anyone else should have know about it before now.” That is the purpose of blogs, IMHO, to learn things..good or bad, we simply do not get from the media who seem to be more interested in the stupid Academy Awards or what the NCAA is doing. All I ask is to be informed and now that I have heard about Paul R. Smith, I am taking a moment to be thankful to him and to all the men and women who ensure we continue to enjoy the many freedoms we have..and yes, it includes bitching too.

    Comment by benj — March 25, 2006 @ 11:43 am - March 25, 2006

  17. #9 Two words. Natalie Holloway.

    #10 The soldiers do not want you to support their lives by refusing them all sacrifice and honor and bravery and valour. They would rather not die, but they understand (even the desk jockies) that theirs is a profession of arms and they might, and they chose that freely. Paul Smith died neither for Bush nor for Iraq but for his fellow soldiers that they would live. His actions stand on their own and he deserves our solemn gratitude.

    No one expects him to get yours. It’s apparently too “nuanced” a distinction for the challenged.

    Comment by Synova — March 25, 2006 @ 11:56 am - March 25, 2006

  18. What happened to your blogroll?

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 25, 2006 @ 1:39 pm - March 25, 2006

  19. GOB, regarding #10…

    Point well taken. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Comment by HollywoodNeoCon — March 25, 2006 @ 1:50 pm - March 25, 2006

  20. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Moonbats Vandalize Soldier’s Memorial (But they support the troops).

    Comment by V the K — March 25, 2006 @ 2:25 pm - March 25, 2006

  21. But Bruce’s posting seems more interested in pumping up Bush and slamming the media than in this guy’s death! As if Bush bestowed the medal for SOLELY military reasons.

    Didn’t quite notice this before. In point of fact, Bush does not “bestow” the medal; he only presents it. The Medal of Honor is awarded by Congress, not the President. The President bestows the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award for merit. (which has been given to mere flunkies so many times both in this and all preceding Adminstrations since it started that its essentially worthless now.)

    It goes back to what I was saying before, most people, particularly critics like the one in #7 above, don’t even know enough about what it is in the first place.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 25, 2006 @ 3:55 pm - March 25, 2006

  22. Since we’re talking about heroes and there are slobbering leftists about, this is a patriotic pacifist, and yes, hero.

    RIP

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 25, 2006 @ 4:04 pm - March 25, 2006

  23. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/06/15/7_arrested_at_army_birthday_celebration/

    Apparently you also missed the insults the 11 year old son endured, being booed by anti-war whackos, at Boston Common when he tried to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a ceremony honoring the Army’s birthday.

    Comment by john Boyle — March 25, 2006 @ 5:32 pm - March 25, 2006

  24. Apparently Mr. Boyle needs a reading refresher. The article that he cited refers to the Cambridge Common, not the Boston Common.

    Comment by raj — March 25, 2006 @ 6:40 pm - March 25, 2006

  25. #24 — And in raj’s world, that makes it all right.

    Comment by V the K — March 25, 2006 @ 7:07 pm - March 25, 2006

  26. Of course, it is always okay to boo children trying to recite the pledge in Raj’s world.

    And apparantly the news media’s job is to feed us all things Natalie Halloway, but only slight to no blurbs at all on fallen war heros (but I do agree with Gryph that the DOD could and should do a better job of making awards and the stories of those who receive them more readily available).

    Comment by just me — March 25, 2006 @ 7:30 pm - March 25, 2006

  27. I think, probably, that what finally gets a MOH winner known by the general public is the movie.

    It takes a while for movies. Sometimes a long time.

    I certainly heard about Smith but recognize the heroics instead of the name. (I’m bad with names.)

    Comment by Synova — March 25, 2006 @ 8:45 pm - March 25, 2006

  28. raj –
    Glad you read the article. Thanks for the correction on the salient detail. This changes everything.

    Comment by John Boyle — March 25, 2006 @ 9:29 pm - March 25, 2006

  29. Synova speaking of movies, I remember hearing rumors that Bruce Willis (think it was him) intended/desired to do a movie about the Lt. Col in Michael Yon’s story. Not sure if it is still going forward, but you are right that a movie/book tends to bring the big name recognition.

    But I still think it is sad that the MSM seems to think more of covering missing pretty white girls than covering the heroism of our military members.

    Comment by just me — March 25, 2006 @ 9:45 pm - March 25, 2006

  30. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Moonbats Vandalize Soldier’s Memorial (But they support the troops).

    The Boston Herald, which your link links to, will probably be out of business shortly. They are not renouned for anything other than their advertising.

    Comment by raj — March 26, 2006 @ 8:49 am - March 26, 2006

  31. raj –
    Glad you read the article. Thanks for the correction on the salient detail.

    You’re welcome for the correction. One might seriously ask whether you read the article, though.

    Comment by raj — March 26, 2006 @ 8:51 am - March 26, 2006

  32. That’s our raj. Can’t make an intellectually coherent argument to save his life, but, Lordy, can that boy ever nitpick an irrelevent detail. Boy Howdy!

    (This is raj’s cue to whine about name-calling.)

    Comment by V the K — March 26, 2006 @ 12:15 pm - March 26, 2006

  33. Yeah V, I was gonna say something myself, but I think I’ve probably exceeded my snark allotment this weekend.

    Loved your site, by the way! rathergood is a riot!

    Comment by HollywoodNeoCon — March 26, 2006 @ 12:26 pm - March 26, 2006

  34. #33 — Thanks, HNC. That warms my evil, hate-filled heart.

    Comment by V the K — March 26, 2006 @ 6:30 pm - March 26, 2006

  35. You people dont’ support the troops…you use the troops as a shield for your ramblings.

    Comment by God of Biscuits — March 27, 2006 @ 2:27 am - March 27, 2006

  36. GoB –“You people dont’ support the troops…you use the troops as a shield for your ramblings” ???

    You can actually write something that partisan and still sleep at night –safe and sound? The line bubba is “Don’t support the mission then you don’t support the troops.” You can’t have it both ways with your sneering anti-military, anti-Bush hatred and still expect to play the PatriotCard while hiding behind the 1st Amendment, God of Biscuits.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 27, 2006 @ 8:56 am - March 27, 2006

  37. Kudos to you for supporting our troops!!!

    Comment by Melanie — March 27, 2006 @ 9:28 am - March 27, 2006

  38. V the K, you may have an evil, hate-filled heart, but I’m insane according to the moonbats, so there!

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 27, 2006 @ 3:20 pm - March 27, 2006

  39. You’re not insane, rwp, just occasionally unhinged. :^)

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 27, 2006 @ 10:48 pm - March 27, 2006

  40. My hinges are not only always tight, but also well lubed and never squeaky.

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 28, 2006 @ 5:54 pm - March 28, 2006

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