Tampa man to receive Medal of Honor on Monday

Published March 29, 2005

Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith of Tampa will become the first soldier from the Iraq war to receive the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Tuesday.

President Bush will award the medal to his family at a ceremony on Monday - the two-year anniversary of Smith's death in Iraq.

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."

Smith, an Army combat engineer, is credited for saving the lives of his soldiers by manning a .50-caliber machine gun and fighting back a much larger force of Iraqi soldiers near Saddam International Airport. His men made it to safety but Smith, 33, was fatally wounded.