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As you are well aware, your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker respects all of those who serve our great country. It takes a very special patriot to sign their name, in blood, with the U.S. Military. This contract can become “due and payable,” with that soldier’s life, at any time or place. A soldier’s loyalty to our great country is one of tradition, passed on from generation to generation, since we fought the British Crown in the Revolutionary War. And while this Grey Beard respects all soldiers, active and retired, he has a very special place in his heart for those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor – the highest military award our country bestows on its heroes.

A regular feature of The Grey Beard Biker is the Profile of Courage. This is dedicated to a soldier who has shown bravery, above the call and duty. Today’s Profile of Courage post is about Sergeant 1st Class, Paul Ray Smith. Smith was the first soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the Iraq War.

Sgt. 1st Class, Paul Ray Smith – Profile of Courage

Unit: Company B, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd I.D.
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Date of Birth: September 24, 1969
Date of Death: April 4, 2003
Place of Death: Baghdad Airport, Baghdad, Iraq
Final Resting Place: Arlington National Cemetery

U.S. Army – Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor Citation:

Sgt. 1st Class – Paul Ray Smith Headstone
Arlington National Cemetery

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 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 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 Marne,” and the United States Army.

Thank you Sergeant 1st Class Smith! Your bravery, intrepidity and devotion to country are an inspiration to the people of this great country. May you rest forever more along peaceful shores with the a warm sun at your back. You have done your duty, to the highest level, and this Grey Beard Biker salutes you, sir!

Grey Beard Biker

The United States has survived over two centuries because we have had men and women who signed a contract with our government. A contract to protect and defend their country from all enemies – foreign and domestic. While your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker has the greatest respect for all members of our armed services, active duty and retired, there is a very special place in his heart for those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. So today, he shares a story of heroism from the Second World War.

Pfc. Frederick C. Murphy – Profile of Courage

Unit: Medical Detachment, 259th Infantry, 65th Infantry Division
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth: July 27, 1918
Date of Death: March 19, 1945
Place of Death: Saarlautern, Germany (Siegfried Line)
Final Resting Place: Saint Laurent, France

U.S. Army Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor Citation:

An aid man, he was wounded in the right shoulder soon after his comrades had jumped off in a dawn attack 18 March 1945, against the Siegfried Line at Saarlautern, Germany. He refused to withdraw for treatment and continued forward, administering first aid under heavy machinegun, mortar and artillery fire. When the company ran into a thickly sown antipersonnel minefield and began to suffer more and more casualties, he continued to disregard his own wound and unhesitatingly braved the danger of exploding mines, moving about through heavy fire and helping the injured until he stepped on a mine which severed one of his feet. In spite of his grievous wounds, he struggled on with his work, refusing to be evacuated and bleeding profusely. He was killed by the blast of another mine which he had dragged himself across in an effort to reach still another casualty. With indomitable courage, and unquenchable spirit of self-sacrifice and supreme devotion to duty which made it possible for him to continue performing his tasks, while barely able to move, Pfc. Murphy saved many of his fellow soldiers at the cost of his own life.

Thank you Pfc. Murphy for your courage and intrepidity on the Siegfried Line in World War II. Your actions went far above the call of duty. Today, there are children and grandchildren who would have never known the freedom of the United States without your actions. The Grey Beard Biker salutes you, sir!

Grey Beard Biker