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Ceremonies to Honor Fallen Soldier for OIF's First Medal of Honor

By Terri Lukach
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2005 – A combat engineer with the Army's 11th Engineering Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony April 4 -- the second anniversary of his death in Iraq.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith is the first to receive the nation's highest award for battlefield gallantry in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terror.

President Bush will present the award to Smith's widow, Birgit, who will be accompanied by the couple's two children, Jessica Martha Smith, 18, and David Anthony Smith, 11.

The next day, a photo, citation and plaque will be unveiled and added to the permanent display at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes. Also on April 5, the headstone marking Smith's grave at Arlington National Cemetery will be unveiled in a special ceremony.

Smith was killed April 4, 2003, in the battle to capture Baghdad Airport. He died defending the soldiers under his command against a numerically superior enemy. Officials determined he saved the lives of more than 100 soldiers.

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