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Minnesota National Guard
Gold Star Fathers Share Story of Love, Service and Sacrifice

Gold Star CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - "A Gold Star family member is a person who has lost a loved one who was serving our nation in the armed forces regardless of the circumstances of the death," said Survivor Outreach Services provider Amy Garber

Bill Smith, father of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith, and Richard Cauley, father of Spc George Cauley, two Gold Star dads, recently spoke about their sons and what it means to be a Gold Star father

"Everyone's greatest fear is the thought they'll say something awkward [to a Gold Star family member] We want to talk about our loved ones The greatest sadness would be that no one would remember," said Bill Smith

Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith was killed in action in April 2003 Paul's unit received a mission to construct an enemy prisoner of war holding area near the Baghdad International Airport Paul's platoon came under attack by a company-sized element Paul led a counterattack against the enemy which repulsed the enemy attack, but ultimately cost him his life

For his actions against a superior enemy force and for saving the lives of the men in his platoon, Paul was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony presided over by President George W Bush, April 4, 2005

Spc George Cauley died from wounds received in combat when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED) on Oct 7, 2009, in Helmand province, Afghanistan "George wasn't supposed to be on mission that day," said his father Richard Cauley "He volunteered for the mission"

Spc Cauley was serving with the 114th Transportation Company, which was nicknamed "Wolfpack" His mission was to convoy to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at FOB Dwyer in the Helmand province While en route his vehicle struck an IED Days later he died from his wounds For his heroism and service, Spc Cauley was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart

When asked what he wanted people to remember about his son, Richard Cauley responded: "George was dedicated - he would help anybody at any time He loved his country and he loved his family He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself"

In closing Mr Smith added, "I think Paul would say, 'If I could do it all over again, I would do it all over again'"

March 25, 2015
by Maj John Donovan
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
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Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
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