( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Black Veteran Receives Recognition for Heroism in the Vietnam War
ENSPIRE Contributor: Jacara Watkins
As the first Black officer in the US Army’s Special Forces, Paris Davis will be awarded a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for courage on the battlefield, nearly 60 years after his retirement. On June 18, 1965, a 26-year-old Capt. Paris Davis rescued his injured fellow officers Billy Waugh and Robert Brown after disobeying an order and telling his commanding officer “Sir, I’m just not going to leave. I still have an American out there” while combating for 19 hours.
His nomination was lost during the Civil Rights Era. It was not only lost once but twice. Colleagues and volunteers advocated on behalf of Davis to receive his reward. The Civil Rights Movement was created because of the injustice African Americans suffer from unequal treatment in public places to their rights not being recognized as human beings. Davis is no stranger to this as he endured it for 23 years in the army when President Harry Truman signed an executive order in 1948 integrating the U.S. Armed Forces and was enacted in 1953 where tensions between soldiers remain.
The 83-year-old war veteran received a call from President Biden to deliver great news, stating “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.” In January 2021, former US Defence Secretary Christopher Miller demanded a review of Davis’ case, believing the military bureaucracy would confront racial bias.
Paris Davis’s contribution to the U.S. Special Forces is now acknowledged for the sacrifice he has made for his country and comrades despite the discrimination he experienced, he perseveres and rises above it all. The White House has yet to announce an official date for Col Davis’ medal ceremony.
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