By Master Sgt. Steve Valley August 29, 2006
HOLIDAY, Fla.(Army News Service, Aug. 29, 2006) –
What began last year as a suggestion by retired Maj. Gen Fred Raymond, cam full circle last Friday during a dedication ceremony of the new Paul R. Smith Middle School in Holiday, Florida.
More than 500 family, friends, Soldiers, veterans, legislators, county officials and students were present.
Raymond recommended to the Pasco County School Board in September 2005 that the new school be named after Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant 1st Class Paul R. Smith. Smith’s parents, widow and two children live in Holiday, and his 12-year old son David is now a student at the school that bears his father’s name.
“I told the board members that students could learn a lot about courage, selflessness, and service to country and community from Paul Smith's example,” said Raymond. “Paul Smith is an outstanding role model for Pasco County students.”
Smith died in combat April 4, 2003, as he fought off Iraqi attackers near Baghdad International Airport. His actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after Soldiers seized the airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed, according to the official Medal of Honor narrative.
Smith received the Medal of Honor posthumously during a White House ceremony April 4, 2005. Smith. He served in B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division.U.S.
Representative Michael Bilirakis, R-9th District, presented the school a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. capitol. Col. Mark McKnight, 3rd Inf. Div. chief of staff, presented a framed plaque of the Smith’s official Medal of Honor narrative.
“I’m hoping students here will want to learn more about the man whose name graces this school,” said Smith’s wife Birgit.