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Paul Wesley Smith

Paul Smith
Born 18 SEP 1931
Died 5 MAY 1968,  KIA
Service Branch Army
Rank Chief Warrant Officer
Rating or Job  
Campaign Viet Nam
Military Citations Purple Heart, Silver Star
Notes Oroville Union High School, Class of 1949


Serial Number W2213979

KIA in Gia Dinh Province

Ground casualty

Gun, small arms fire

National Archives


CWO Paul Wesley Smith

Sept.18, 1931 - May 5, 1968


Paul Smith, born and raised in Oroville, made the Army his career.

During his youth the Thermalito man attained the rank of Eagle Scout before graduating from Oroville High School in 1949. where he was class president in his senior year.

After high school he briefly attended San Jose State College before enlisting in the Army in December 1950

In the 16½ years of his Army career, Smith served in Germany, Italy and England. At the time of his death, he had logged in over four years in Southeast Asia.

The highly decorated officer’s last medal was the Silver Star. On May 5, 1968, CWO Smith, a member of the 525th Military Intelligence Group, led a reconnaissance platoon from Chau Doc  to Chau Giang.

The platoon came under constant sniper, automatic weapons and rocket barrages

throughout the day. Smith stayed with the forward squad, encouraging it to maintain pressure on the enemy.

At one point during the day. the outnumbered GIs were pinned down behind a rock wall. Smith jumped out and braved a deadly hail of bullets while firing his submachine gun.

According to the Army, Smith’s outnumbered platoon inspired by his courage — routed the enemy during an hour-long battle during which Smith was mortally wounded.

He was 36 years old

Chico News & Review, May 26, 1988



National Archives

Chico News & Review