When Captain Paris Davis was given a direct order by his commander to “get on board” a U.S. Army helicopter, Davis, one of our country’s first Black Special Forces officers, refused: “Sir,” he said, “I’m just not going to leave. I still have an American out there.”
On 3 March in the East Room at the White House, President Joe Biden celebrated retired army Col. Paris Davis’s courage and inspiration by awarding Paris the long overdue Medal of Honor.
The WSJ’s Joseph Pisani reports on the official White House transcript:
Captain Davis and three other U.S. Special Forces advisors accompanied the Vietnamese 883rd Regional Force Company on its first combat mission, a daring nighttime raid against a Viet Cong regional headquarters housing a superior enemy force.
Captain Davis’s advice and leadership allowed the company to gain the tactical advantage, allowing it to surprise the unsuspecting enemy force and kill approximately 100 enemy soldiers. While returning from the successful raid, the regional force company was ambushed and sustained several casualties.
Captain Davis consistently exposed himself to the hostile… fire to rally the inexperienced and disorganized company. He expertly directed both artillery and small arms fire, enabling other elements of the company to reach his position.
Although wounded in the leg, he aided in the evacuation of other wounded men in his unit, but refused medical evacuation himself. Following the arrival of air support, Captain Davis directed artillery fire within 30 meters of his own position in an attempt to halt the enemy’s advance.
Writing in the WSJ, James Freeman continues:
Then, with complete disregard for his own life, (Parfs) braved intense enemy fire to cross an open field to rescue his seriously wounded and immobilized team sergeant. While carrying the sergeant up the hill to a position of relative safety, Captain Davis was again wounded by enemy fire.
Despite two painful wounds, Captain Davis again refused medical evacuation, remained with the troops, fought bravely, and provided pivotal leadership and inspiration to the regional force company as they repelled several Viet Cong assaults on their position over a period of several hours.
When friendly reinforcements finally arrived, Captain Davis again refused medical evacuation until he had recovered… a U.S. advisor under his command who had been wounded during the initial ambush and presumed dead.
While personally recovering the wounded soldier, he found him severely wounded but still clinging to life. Captain Davis directed the helicopter extraction of his wounded colleague not leaving the battlefield himself until after all… friendly forces were recovered or medically evacuated.
From President Biden:
“Paris, you are everything this medal means … And you are everything our generation aspired to be and you’re everything our nation is at our best.”
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