With all of the conflicted reporting which characterized the media coverage of the Iraq War it was often hard to see the individual soldiers who fought so bravely and so well. Here is a link to an account of the last stand of Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith. I hope he gets the Medal of Honor; but he is already a hero. He leaves a wife and two children. There should be a place to send contributions. I don't know of one. But there should.
An M-113 armored personnel carrier moved into the compound and knocked down a gate at the far side, only to come under heavy fire from Special Republican Guard forces. A mortar round landed on top of the M-113, wounding three of the four crew members. Seconds later, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle in the side. At the same time, Iraqis climbed into the guard tower and began firing down at the U.S. soldiers with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
"They had occupied the tower that we planned to use to guard the EPW [enemy prisoner of war] cage," said 1st Sgt. Timothy Campbell, 35, of Bethel, Ohio, the senior noncommissioned officer of Bravo Company. "So now they had us in the cage, basically. The only place out was the hole we put in the wall and the gate where they were firing from."
Smith and Campbell rushed to help evacuate the wounded, one of whom had to be carried on a stretcher. Another M-113 was then hit by a grenade, and Campbell helped evacuate its four crew members. As he was doing so, Smith got a hand grenade from a Scout vehicle, ran up to the wall by the gate and threw the grenade over the wall to help cover the evacuation.
Then Smith jumped into the M-113 and started to back it across the courtyard to a more central position where he could fire at the guard tower.
The M-113's machine gun was damaged, but Smith told Campbell he could make it work. Campbell sent two soldiers to help him, one to drive the M-113 and the other to feed Smith ammunition. Smith told them to stay down while he fired at the tower, the gate and a place along a wall where the Iraqis were trying to climb over.
"They were trying to gain control [of the courtyard] to kill engineers, who were the biggest threat to them," Campbell said. If successful, "they would be unimpeded. They had the terrain. They had the proper size and type of weapons to defeat all the targets around there. . . . So they would have . . . created chaos, and they could have done quite a bit of damage."
link washington post
Read the whole thing.