Smith and his 2nd Platoon, 11th Engineers, had fought for three nights and days to capture Baghdad International Airport in early 2003. Mounting a successful attack against a numerically superior opposing force, Smith decisively halted the enemy advance and saved the lives of at least 100 fellow Soldiers. Smith was the only U.S. service member to die during the battle. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on April 4, 2005.