A Medal of Honor has not been issued since two Special Forces soldiers were awarded them posthumously in 1993 after their unselfish sacrifice in Somalia. Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith joins a small group of true hero's who have selflessly taken a duty on themselves that was not asked for, but which saved others.
St. Peterburg Times
President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Smith's wife, Birgit, and their children Jessica, 18, and David, 10, at a ceremony at the White House, possibly in March.
"People know what's he's done ... people know that to get a Medal of Honor you have to be a special person or do something really great."
What Paul Smith did on April 4, 2003, was climb aboard an armored vehicle and, manning a heavy machine gun, take it upon himself to cover the withdrawal of his men from a suddenly vulnerable position. Smith was fatally wounded by Iraqi fire, the only American to die in the engagement.
Since the Civil War, just 3,439 men (and one woman) have received the Medal of Honor. It recognizes only the most extreme examples of bravery - those "above and beyond the call of duty."
That oft-heard phrase has a specific meaning: The medal cannot be given to those who act under orders, no matter how heroic their actions. Indeed, according to Library of Congress defense expert David F. Burrelli, it must be "the type of deed which, if he had not done it, would not subject him to any justified criticism."
From World War II on, most of the men who received the medal died in the action that led to their nomination. There are but 129 living recipients.
In the Army, he said, you hear about men who won the Medal of Honor. "You think they are myths when you read about them. It's almost movielike. You just don't think you'd ever meet someone like that."
For the details on his actions and what earned him the Medal of Honor read the story linked above.
Tipped by: Blackfive
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy who has a link to some multimedia on Sgt. Smith
Outside The Beltway who has some links to some incredible stuff on the Medal of Honor
One Hand Clapping