HATTIESBURG – Retired
Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, a distinguished visiting lecturer at The
University of Southern Mississippi, traveled to Washington, D.C.,
April 4 to attend a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House for
fallen soldier Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith.
A native of Florida, Smith was a soldier under Blount’s
command in the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division.
Until his retirement, Blount served as the Army’s
Deputy G3 (Plans and Operations). Previously, he was commanding
general of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), at Ft. Stewart
and Hunter Army Airfield. Blount, a Southern Miss alumnus, gave
up command of the 3rd Infantry Division after bringing it home from
Iraq, where it was the lead force in defeating the Iraqi army and
The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest
medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to members of the
armed forces. It is sometimes referred to as the “Congressional
Medal of Honor” because the president awards it on behalf
of Congress. Smith, whose family will accept the award from President
George W. Bush, is the first recipient of the Medal of Honor from
the Iraq War.