Archive for April, 2011

April’s Engineer Moment in History

Posthumous presentation of Medal of Honor for SFC Paul Ray Smith’s actions under fire
Provided by the USAES Historian

SFC Paul Ray Smith, Medal of Honor recipient

SFC Paul Ray Smith

On 4 April 2003 near Baghdad International Airport, a large Iraqi force attacked SFC Paul Ray Smith and other Soldiers of Bravo Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of Task Force 2-7.  SFC Smith organized a defense of his unit’s position, returned fire against the enemy, and helped evacuate wounded Soldiers. His Medal of Honor citation tells what happened next: “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.” SFC Paul Ray Smith was found dead at his machine gun as the engagement ended. Two years later to the day on 4 April 2005, his eleven year-old son, David, received his father’s posthumous Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

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