Why Isn’t Paul Ray Smith A Famous Hero?
If you’ve never heard of Paul Ray Smith then it’s a pity because he should be as famous hero as Audie Murphy and Alvin York.
Heroes like Audie Murphy and Alvin York were household names and they appeared on the front page of almost every newspaper and the nation honored them for what they did on a grand scale.
So why aren’t today’s heroes honored in the same way? You tell me!
Paul Ray Smith was killed on April 4, 2003 while serving his nation in Iraq.
He was a hero who died defending his men and many others from an Iraqi counter-attack and for his gallantry he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith
Born: September 24, 1969, El Paso, Texas, United States
Died: April 4, 2003, Baghdad, Iraq
Assignments: 82nd Engineer Battalion (Bamberg, Germany), 1st Engineer Battalion (Fort Riley, Kansas), 317th Engineer Battalion (Fort Benning, Georgia), 9th Engineer Battalion (Schweinfurt, Germany), 11th Engineer Battalion (Fort Stewart, Georgia)
Deployments: Persian Gulf War, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Operation Iraqi Freedom
Awards: Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal
Paul Ray Smith’s Military Background
Sgt. 1st Class Smith joined the 11th Engineer Battalion in 1999 and immediately became an integral part of Bravo Company.
When he was deployed with his platoon to Kosovo in May 2001, as part of the KFOR 3A rotation, Smith was responsible for daily presence patrols in the highly populated town of Gnjilane and in the spring of 2002, he was promoted to sergeant first class and completed the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course in August 2002.
In January 2003, Sgt. 1st Class Smith returned from leave to prepare his men for rapid deployment to Kuwait as part of the 3rd Infantry’s Divisions buildup for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Smith took a strict approach to training his men, ensuring that his platoon was proficient in handling weapons and prepared for urban combat.
How And Why He Died
On April 4, 2003, Smith was setting up a temporary enemy prisoner of war holding area during the seizure of Saddam International Airport when his unit came under attack.
Smith kept his soldiers focused during the fight while engaging the Iraqi force of around 100 men with his M16, hand grenades and an AT4 anti-armor weapon.
At one point in the battle, Smith manned a .50 caliber machine-gun in the exposed turret of a damaged M113 armored personnel carrier and began firing at the main force of the enemy.
He fired about 400 rounds, giving his soldiers time to regroup and mount an attack of their own.