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Soldier's Bravery an Example to Others

Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith could have retreated, but doing so would have allowed Iraqi troops to overrun an American aid station at Baghdad International Airport. Instead, Sgt. Smith grabbed a rifle and antitank weapon and continued fighting, holding off about 100 enemy soldiers.

When a fellow soldier shouted at Smith to take cover, Smith refused. “He gave me the cut-throat symbol,” the soldier recalled. “He was not leaving.” Smith received a severe head wound and died at his post. Yet his efforts stopped the April 4, 2003, assault.

Two years later, President Bush presented the Medal of Honor to Smith’s 11-year-old son David.

Drawing from this soldier’s example, the Army drew up a new creed as it tightened training procedures: “I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Smith’s widow commented, “Paul is showing the soldiers what it means to be a soldier.”

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