Bay Pines VA and Patriot Riders Honor Grieving Father

Patriot Guard Riders showed up to support a fellow veteran who lost his son during the Benghazi raid on the U.S. diplomatic staff in Libya.

Patriot Guard Riders showed up to support a fellow veteran who lost his son during the Benghazi raid on the U.S. diplomatic staff in Libya.

More than a dozen Patriot Guard Riders, American flags at their sides, lined the sidewalk Monday morning at the entrance of the Bay Pines VA Hospital.

They greeted all veterans arriving – but they were there for someone specific, Ray Smith, a Vietnam veteran and father of Sean Patrick Smith.

Sean Smith was one of the three men killed along with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi raid. Sean Smith served in the Air Force six years and then spent 10 years as a computer expert with the State Department.

Ray Smith shakes hands with one of the Patriot Guard behind him, Cong. Bill Young greets another rider.

Ray Smith shakes hands with one of the Patriot Guard behind him, Cong. Bill Young greets another rider.

Ray Smith’s ex-wife was officially notified of their son’s death, but the father learned about it while watching television as the four coffins were returned from Libya.

Ray Smith was a Marine who served as a “tunnel rat” during Vietnam. So, the lack of protection for the diplomatic staff made him angry and he blames President Obama.

“Blood’s on his hands just like the ones that murdered my son,” Ray Smith told reporters Monday. “My son wasn’t shot in combat, he was murdered and there’s a difference. And he gave his life trying to help the ambassador. He should be given a Medal of Honor.”

Smith turned to Congressman Bill Young for answers. Young said he’s attended all the classified briefings on the Benghazi raid and he’s been told the same thing over and over – “it’s under investigation.”

Ray Smith hugs the framed Congressional proclamation and photo of his son hanging in the VA family counseling room.

Ray Smith hugs the framed Congressional proclamation and photo of his son hanging in the VA family counseling room.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to investigate, but the people of America basically are demanding answers, my constituents are demanding of me that I get the answers,” Young said.

Young has been trying to get answers for Smith and also help him deal with his grief.

The congressman asked Bay Pines VA Hospital, where Ray Smith receives treatment for his wounds suffered during Vietnam, to help honor Smith’s son.

On Monday, a fourth floor counseling room where families meet with chaplains and physicians to discuss difficult medical decisions was dedicated in Sean Patrick Smith’s honor.

A parchment copy of the congressional proclamation recognizing Smith’s sacrifice and his photo are neatly framed and hangs in the room.

When it was unveiled, Ray Smith went over, hugged the picture frame, then took a step back and saluted his son.

 

Florida Governor Recognizes Medal of Honor Recipient Miller

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller was killed by Taliban insurgents Jan. 25, 2008, while protecting his Operational Detachment Alpha teammates during combat operations near the village of Barikowt, Nari District, Konar Province, Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller was killed by Taliban insurgents Jan. 25, 2008, while protecting his Operational Detachment Alpha teammates during combat operations near the village of Barikowt, Nari District, Konar Province, Afghanistan.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott today, Dec. 12, 2012, will honor the Oviedo family of Green Beret Staff Sgt. Robert Miller. His name will be included in Florida’s Wall of Honor in Tallahassee.

The Special Forces soldier was killed during a battle in Afghanistan in January 2008. Miller was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2010 for his heroism and valor during that combat.

Miller deliberately moved forward making himself vulnerable as he engaged several enemy positions to provide suppressive fire, buying time for his teammates to take cover. Exposing his position repeatedly, he drew fire from more than 100 enemy fighters, ultimately saving the lives of his fellow Green Berets and 15 local ANA Soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Miller’s previous military decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals for valor, the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer’s Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Special Forces Tab and the Ranger Tab.http://www.army.mil/article/45005/been prese

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