Delayed, Not Denied: Vietnam Veteran Col. Paris Davis Finally Receives Medal of Honor
By Conway Jones
Col. Paris Davis, U.S. Army (Retired), was awarded the Medal of Honor on Friday on March 3, 2023, at the White House. Davis was presented with the award by President Joe Biden.
The 83-year-old former Green Beret was finally honored for his actions in Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam on June 18, 1965. The award came more than half a century after Davis risked his life to save some of his men by fighting off the North Vietnamese.
The belated recognition came after the recommendation for his medal was lost, resubmitted — and then lost again. In 2016, advocates for Davis’ award re-created and resubmitted the paperwork.
“You are everything this medal means,” Biden told Davis. “You’re everything our nation is at our best. Brave and big-hearted, determined, and devoted, selfless and steadfast.”
At a later ceremony in the Pentagon hosted by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks, Davis, the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
The colonel spoke of his two tours in Vietnam. “These experiences impacted me and my view about the importance of service, dedication and teamwork, then and now,” he said through his daughter. “I am so proud to be an American soldier and a Green Beret. I am grateful for what the Army provided me and what America has given me — opportunity, purpose and pride.
Davis is one of only four service members in U.S. military history to receive both the Soldier’s Medal and the Medal of Honor.
Davis was born in 1939, in Cleveland, Ohio. Following his 26-year military career, Davis published the Metro Herald newspaper in Alexandria, Va., where he currently lives, for 30 years. The newspaper reported on community news and civil rights issues.
…The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces.
Of the 3,470 Medals of Honor awarded as of June 2015, 92 have been awarded to African-American recipients. Twenty-six African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the American Civil War.
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