By Adam Linehan: The platoon sergeant who gave his life to repel dozens of Iraqi troops with a .50 cal
If you’ve served in the U.S. Army at some point over the past decade, you’ve probably heard of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith. Within the ranks, his name has become synonymous with extraordinary courage in the face of overwhelming odds. And for good reason.
In April 2003, Smith fought through a hellish firefight, sacrificing his own life to save countless others, becoming the first American service member to earn the Medal of Honor after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Paul Ray Smith (24 September 1969 – 4 April 2003) was a United States Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While serving with B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad, Iraq, his team was attacked by a group of Iraqi fighters and after a short firefight he was killed by Iraqi fire. For his actions during this battle he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Two years later, the medal, along with the newly approved Medal of Honor flag, were presented to his family on behalf of him; specifically to his eleven-year-old son David, at a White House ceremony by the President of the United States George W. Bush.
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By Haley Britzky: A viral Army tweet paints a harrowing picture of the sacrifices made in military service
“To everyone who responded to this thread, thank you for sharing your story,” the Army said in response on Saturday afternoon. “Your stories are real, they matter, and they may help others in similar situations. … As we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend by remembering their service, we are also mindful of the fact that we have to take care of those who came back home with scars we can’t see.”
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
By Scott Cooper: I’ll never forget the Marine memorial ceremonies I attended in Fallujah
Seattle Times | By Erik Lacitis: Mattis Thanks Vietnam Vets at Memorial Park Dedication
Jim Mattis, the retired Marine general and former secretary of defense who resigned because of disagreements with President Donald Trump, was the keynote speaker.
The Richland native was greeted with whoops and yells. He told the crowd, “Having left Washington, D.C., and returned to the better Washington, I’m so happy, ladies and gentlemen, that I could cry.”
He talked about the Vietnam veterans who returned to “even find contempt,” although “fortunately the contempt never represented the majority of their fellow citizens.” He thanked them for their “patience until the country found its way back to self-respect.”
By Military.com | By Richard Sisk: A Memorial Day Remembrance for Bernie, Who Was Lost in Vietnam
Military.com | By Richard Sisk: Nonprofits Struggle to Reach At-Risk Veterans Who Shun VA Services
Veterans, their families and friends can reach a mental health professional at the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, press 1 for assistance. Or text 838255.
By Laura Damon, Newport Daily News: New documentary aims to tell the story of the deadliest attack at sea in the history of U.S. war
By Nicole Jennings: Rare find in Tacoma closet spreads legacy of Medal of Honor vet
Fresh out of Bainbridge Island High School, John D. Hawk was thrown into the middle of the World War II action as a machine gunner.
“He and his friends enlisted right after high school graduation — poor farmboys,” said Hawk’s daughter, Federal Way resident Marilyn Harrelson. “Of course, they ended up in the infantry on the ground because they didn’t have a lot of education or whatever else, but they certainly had the smarts to deal with what they faced.”
When Hawk’s sergeant died, he became what was known as a “bump sergeant” — he was given a field promotion to fill the role.
It was a difficult time to be in charge of a machine gun squad. The Allies had the Germans mostly surrounded in what was known as the Falaise Pocket and were closing in from the north, west, and south, with a gap in the east. The Germans were attempting to use this eastern gap to break through the pocket.
By David Vergun: NASCAR Festivities Include Reminder About Honoring Fallen Heroes
By Luke Ryan: My Best Friend and I Did Everything Together — Until He Was Killed in Afghanistan