Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Who Is Paris Davis?

            My VIP for this week is retired Army Col. Paris Davis, age 83, who recently received the Congressional Medal of Honor for what he did on June 20, 1965, in Binh Dinh province in South Vietnam. On that fateful day, Davis was a Special Forces captain. His story was summarized on an Army website and reported by Jack Davis. 

Over the course of two days, Davis selflessly led a charge to neutralize enemy emplacements, called for precision artillery fire, engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, and prevented the capture of three American soldiers (Robert Brown, John Reinberg, and Bill Waugh) while saving their lives with a medical extraction. Davis sustain multiple gunshot and grenade fragment wounds during the 19-hour battle and refused to leave the battlefield until his men were safely removed.

Davis obtained more information from to fill in some of the blanks of what took place when Captain Davis’s patrol ran into hundreds of Viet Cong.

“I ran down to where the firing was and found five Viet Cong coming over the trench line. I killed all five, and then I heard firing from the left flank,” Davis wrote in his report.

“I ran down there and saw about six Viet Cong moving toward our position. I threw a grenade and killed four of them. My M16 jammed, so I shot one with my pistol and hit the other with my M16 again and again until he was dead,” the report said.

Davis suffered numerous wounds that day, including part of his trigger finger to an enemy grenade. The loss did not stop him, as he fired his M16 with his pinky. The battle continued, and two of the wounded men had been brought behind American lines. However, the third man – Brown – was in a rice paddy, and no one knew whether he was dead or alive.

“A colonel came by and, since we had two of the Americans and I wasn’t really sure of the disposition of the third, he gave me a direct order to … move out of the area, right now,” David said in a 1969 interview.

“I just disobeyed the order,” Davis said, according to CNN. “I said some words over the telephone I don’t really care to repeat right here, I did do a little swearing.”

During the Medal of Honor ceremony, President Joe Biden shared a conversation that Davis had with a medic he rescued. “When he got there, the medic, still alive, asked him, ‘Am I going to die?’ “Am I going to die?’ Captain Davis responded, ‘Not before me.’ Still fending off the Viet Cong assailants, Captain Davis hauled his medic up the hill, Biden said.

The battle lasted almost 20 hours, but all the soldiers were rescued. Davis was wounded eight times. He said that at one point he “thought that the battle was over because there was a place on that battlefield where there were so many bodies you couldn’t see the grass.”

The battle report said, “Davis’ selfless actions and personal courage were decisive in changing the tide of the battle, ensuring that American Soldiers were not killed or taken prisoner, preventing the South Vietnamese company from being overrun, and ensuring the defeat of a numerically superior enemy force.”

What was Davis’ motive that day? When asked, he gave a simple answer, “Others.”

Well done, Captain Davis! You deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is sad that you had to wait more than sixty years to get it!

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