Biden presents Vietnam-era army officer with Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the first black officers to lead a Special Forces team in combat receives the nation’s highest award for combat bravery, nearly 60 years after he was first nominated for the prestigious Medal of Honor Awarded

President Joe Biden called retired U.S. Army Colonel Col. Paris Davis on Monday to “tell him that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his astonishing heroism during the Vietnam War.”

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

“I think a lot about that fateful 19 hours on June 18, 1965, and what our team did to make sure no one was left on the battlefield,” said a native of Cleveland, now Alexandria, Virginia. said Davis, who lives in

Davis, then a captain, was recommended for the Medal of Honor by his commanding officer for his outstanding performance during the pre-dawn raid on the North Vietnamese Army camp at Bon Son that June morning. All Americans there were wounded during a massive enemy counterattack.

According to Army Times, after his hand was shattered by an enemy grenade, Davis used his little finger to fire a rifle and repeatedly sprinted into an open rice field to rescue each member of the team. His entire team survived.

The paperwork to nominate Davis for the Medal of Honor has gone off at least twice. Although he was eventually awarded the Silver His Star Medal, the third-highest military combat medal, members of Davis’ team have long argued that race was a factor in his treatment. rice field.

Davis retired in 1985 and was promoted to Colonel.

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

“There are some issues in our country that transcend partisanship,” Miller wrote. “The Davis case meets that criteria.”

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