Black Vietnam Veteran to Receive Medal of Honor After Six Decades | Video

    Paris Davis – screenshot

    *After a delay of nearly six decades, one of the first Black officers in the Green Berets will receive the Medal of Honor. 

    President Joe Biden called Col. Paris Davis (ret.) on Monday to inform him that he will receive the Medal of Honor “for his remarkable heroism during the Vietnam War,” according to a White House statement, CBS News reports.

    “The call today from President Biden prompted a wave of memories of the men and women I served with in Vietnam – from the members of 5th Special Forces Group and other U.S. military units to the doctors and nurses who cared for our wounded,” Davis said in a statement released by him and his family. 

    “I am so very grateful for my family and friends within the military and elsewhere who kept alive the story of A-team, A-321 at Camp Bong Son. I think often of those fateful 19 hours on June 18, 1965 and what our team did to make sure we left no man behind on that battlefield,” Davis added.

    READ MORE: Black Civil War Veterans’ Burial Ground is Restored By Church To Honor Their Legacy

    In Vietnam, Davis, who is now retired, broke barriers on the battlefield. He disobeyed orders and rescued his troops who were wounded in an attack in 1965. He never received his Medal of Honor because his paperwork mysteriously vanished in Vietnam nearly 56 years ago in 1965 — amid civil rights protests in the U.S. Read more about his story HERE

    Military historian Doug Sterner noted that Davis’ case is unique.

    “This is a veteran, a war hero, who was submitted for our nation’s highest honor, and the paperwork for that award was actually lost. The military is redundant in paperwork, if nothing else. And so it’s very rare for that to occur,” said Sterner, who served two tours in Vietnam and has written 108 books on service medals, per CBS News. 

    Davis spoke to CBS News about the effort undertaken by a group of volunteers and veterans to get him the recognition he deserves.

    “I know race was a factor,” Davis told CBS about his missing paperwork. He recalled telling troops, “you can call me Capt. Davis … but you can’t call me a n*****.” But “it did happen,” Davis said.

    During the interview, Davis made clear, however, that race was not a factor when soldiers were under attack.

    “When you’re out there fighting, and things are going on like that, everybody’s your friend, and you’re everybody’s friend…the bullets have no color, no names,” he said.

    Fellow veteran Billy Waugh recalled in a 2021 interview being shot multiple times in the legs during the war and was unable to walk. “We ended up in an open area together,” Waugh said of Davis. “He grabbed me, and he (dragged) me.”

    Waugh said he submitted Medal of Honor paperwork for Davis, as did Davis’ commander, Billy Cole. But Davis never received the award and his file disappeared. According to the Defense Department, a 1969 military review “did not reveal any file on Davis.”

    Former acting US defense secretary Christopher Miller ordered a review of Davis’ case in January 2021. 

    Miller noted in an opinion piece in USA Today that “bureaucracy has a way of perpetuating injustice”.

    “Awarding Davis the Medal of Honor now might not untangle much military bureaucracy,” he wrote. “But it would address an injustice.”

    The White House has not confirmed a date for Col Davis’ medal ceremony.

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