Black Soldier’s Bravery In 1965 May Finally Be Honored

Comrades of Army Capt. Paris Davis said his actions during the Vietnam War deserved the Medal of Honor. After more than 50 years, a now retired Col. Davis might be getting honored. 

According to a report by The New York Times, Davis was 26 years old at the time when, on June 18, 1965, wounded and under enemy fire, Davis continued fighting while dragging wounded members of his team out of a rice paddy.

His commander submitted the paperwork to nominate Davis for the highest award in the military, the Medal of Honor, but the paperwork disappeared, twice. 

Davis, who was one of the first Black officers in the Army’s Special Forces, was nominated several times over the years, but to no avail. They came to believe eventually that the indifference they faced from the Army on Davis’ nomination was because of his position as a Black Special Forces officer. 

“What other assumption can you make?” said Ron Deis, 77, who was one of the youngest on Davis’ team in 1965. Deis is a part of the group still pushing to get Davis the award. 

“We all knew he deserved it then,” Deis told the Times. “He sure as hell deserves it now.” 

In January, hope was renewed for Davis and those pushing for him to get the medal. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller personally called for a review of the lost nomination to be expedited and completed by March of this year. The report will pass through two other military leaders before getting to President Joe Biden’s desk. 

If they all sign off on the long-awaited nomination, the 81-year-old Davis may finally get his actions in battle honored.

In response to all of this, Col. Davis’ view of the medal is more understated. “People need to keep on keepin’ on,” he told the outlet. “We’ve got to make this a better world. That’s how I feel.” 

Unfortunately, Col. Davis is not alone in not getting recognized for his service. Generations of Black service members were routinely barred from receiving awards and denied promotions. Previous presidents have worked to try to right past wrongs, but some veterans are urging for more, including getting Col. Davis his rightfully-deserved medal. 

Photo: Getty Images 

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