Soldier Honored: Paul G. Smith
Hometown: Peoria, Illinois
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Paul Smith, 43, of Peoria, Illinois, served as a cavalry scout with the U.S. Army, which he joined in April 1993. He was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas until 1996 when he was deployed to Kuwait. In 1996 he and his family were stationed in Vilseck, Germany where they stayed until August of 1999. His next station was Fort Riley, Kansas where he was deployed again from 2001 to 2002 in Iraq and again from 2003 to 2004 and 2005 to 2006. In June 2006, he went inactive and headed back to East Peoria.
SSG Smith joined the National Guard out of Kewanee, Illinois in August 2006. While doing his drills he was also employed by G & D Integrated. In December 2008, he was called to go to Afghanistan with his Kewanee Guard Unit. SSG Smith was able to come home on R&R from April 29 to May 12, 2009 when he and his wife celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary. SGT Smith loved his homemade pond, fish tanks and just relaxing on his break with his family and friends. After returning to Afghanistan mid-May, SSG Smith died June 19, 2009 in Kandahar when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.
Alexander is survived by his wife and two daughters who are Folds of Honor Higher Education scholarship recipients.