Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Forgotten Heroes

These men were once household names across America:

Alvin York
John Basilone
Audie Murphy

How many Americans today would recognize these names? Some would undoubtedly recognize SGT Alvin York and 1LT Audie Murphy, remembering their exploits from Hollywood movies. But few Americans today -- outside of the USMC -- would know anything of the deeds of Manila John Basilone.

Many such heroes have served our nation in time of war. Honored by the generations they served, only a precious few are remembered beyond the lifetimes of those for whom they fought, bled, and died. Like the soldier of that old army ballad, their memories just...fade...away.

Do any Americans today remember the name of Paul Smith? Make that SFC Paul R. Smith of Task Force 2-7, who fought with the Third Infantry Division "Rock of the Marne" on its way to victory in Baghdad. This is a man well worth knowing, and remembering:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. 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. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

SFC Paul Smith gave his life for his fellow soldiers, and his nation, and in so doing won the first Medal of Honor awarded since the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Paul Smith is a hero, but he's not a forgotten hero, as are the likes of York, Murphy, and Basilone. You see, a nation cannot forget what a nation has never known.

Why are heroes like Paul Smith so little known to Americans today? Why do our leaders say things about today's heroes such as this, this, and this? And why, oh why, would someone do something like this to a wounded hero? Our soldiers are being attacked from the home front, their mission undermined, their heroics belittled or ignored. That's why this blog was born, to defend the soldiers who are defending our freedom.

FPCON DELTA has been declared...


Blogger Alexis said...

I saw you post on the Renter website about the name Route Michigan. I'm a retired Detroit firefighter and thought the moniker Route Michigan was odd. Route Detroit I could understand for Iraq.

11:33 AM  

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