Biden to award Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era military officer – KGET 17

WASHINGTON (AP) – One of the first black officers to lead a special forces team in combat will receive the nation’s highest award for combat valor nearly 60 years after his commanding officer first recommended him for the prestigious Medal of Honor.

President Joe Biden called retired US Army Col. Paris Davis on Monday “to inform him that he will be receiving the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism during the Vietnam War.”

In a statement released afterward, Davis, 83, said the phone call “triggered a wave of memories of the men and women I served with in Vietnam.” He thanked his family, military friends and volunteers for keeping the story alive, along with Biden and military leaders.

“I often think about those fateful 19 hours on June 18, 1965, and what our team did to leave no one behind on that battlefield,” said Davis, who is originally from Cleveland and currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Davis, then a captain, was recommended by his commanding officer for the Medal of Honor for distinguishing himself that June morning during a pre-dawn attack on a North Vietnamese military camp at Bong Son. Every American there was wounded during a massive enemy counterattack.

Davis repeatedly ran into an open rice field to save each member of his team, using his little finger to fire his rifle after his arm was shattered by an enemy shell, according to ArmyTimes. His entire team survived.

Paperwork recommending Davis for the Medal of Honor has gone missing at least twice. He was eventually awarded the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest medal, but members of Davis’ team have long argued that race was a factor in his treatment.

Davis retired in 1985, attaining the rank of colonel.

In early 2021, Christopher Miller, then Acting Secretary of Defense, ordered an expedited review of the case. He argued in a June 2021 opinion column that awarding Davis the Medal of Honor would address the injustice

“Some problems in our nation transcend partisanship,” Miller wrote. “The Davis case meets that standard.”

The White House did not immediately announce a date for Davis’ medal ceremony.

The Latest

To Top