Staff Sgt. Steven A. Holloway, on his third combat tour to Iraq, raises his right hand to indefinitely reaffirm his commitment to the U.S. Army. Holloway stands on the exact spot where his mentor, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, gave his life to preserve those of his Soldiers in 2003.
CAMP VICTORY — Everybody has one.
It may be a family member, a teacher, or a coach – an extraordinary person who makes such an impact that one’s life is forever changed.
For Staff Sgt. Steven A. Holloway that one person was a friend, mentor and leader.
The story of Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith is known to the nation. His actions in combat on April 4, 2003, above and beyond the call of duty, led to him being posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
On Aug. 10, Holloway, on his third combat tour to Iraq, raised his right hand to indefinitely reaffirm his commitment to the Army in the exact location where Smith gave his life to preserve those of his Soldiers.
Holloway, a 12-year Army veteran, was in the fight on in 2003 with Company B, 11th Engineer Battalion, securing a breach in a wall 100 meters from Smith when Smith was killed. Smith was his platoon sergeant for 10 months, his friend for three years.
“It’s still kind of hard to go back there,” said Holloway, whose only other time back there was on April 4, 2005, when Smith’s son, David, was presented his father’s Medal of Honor in Washington. “I lost a friend that day … and a mentor who taught me what it means to take care of Soldiers.”
Now serving as the Task Force Marne Engineer Operations noncommissioned officer, Holloway said junior Soldiers are the primary reason he made the choice to re-enlist.
“When Smitty was my platoon sergeant, we trained a lot – he was big on training young Soldiers,” he said. “He was hard to work for; a perfectionist. But his Soldiers were always the best at what they did, and they knew it.”
“That’s how I am. I love to train Soldiers. That’s what I want to do,” he said, adding that there are still hundreds of future combat engineers who will need a competent leader capable of mentoring, training and teaching them. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do (in the Army), and I’ve got enough experience to provide that leadership.”
Holloway, who has been a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier for nine years, told his Soldiers after the ceremony that he re-enlisted for them and others like them. He said he hopes the lessons he’s learned in Soldiering and leading while serving as a sapper in the Marne Division will be passed on to young Soldiers for years to come – a lesson taught to him on that fateful day in 2003.
“That’s why I re-enlisted,” he said. “So the young Soldiers can carry on not only what I teach them, but what Smitty taught me.”The Victory Caucus