Colonel Paris Davis to get the Medal of Honor – TTG

Colonel Davis holds a photo of himself taken during his Army days as 10th SFG(A) Commander. Credit… Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Colonel (Ret.) Paris Davis, who was one of the first black Special Forces officers, will finally be receiving the Medal of Honor. According to the White House, President Joe Biden called Davis to tell him that he will personally decorate him with the nation’s highest military award.

President Biden told Davis that his “remarkable heroism during the Vietnam War” will finally be celebrated. Fifty-seven years ago, as a Special Forces officer, Colonel Davis showed remarkable courage during an intense firefight in Vietnam. However, the military twice inexplicably lost the paperwork documenting his nomination for the Medal of Honor; some attributed this to racism.

A date for the ceremony has not yet been announced, but President Biden said that he was looking forward to hosting Davis at the White House. Davis released a statement after he received the president’s phone call on Monday, saying it “prompted a wave of memories of the men and women I served with in Vietnam, from the members of 5th Special Forces Group and other U.S. military units to the doctors and nurses who cared for our wounded.”

“As I anticipate receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor, 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,” Davis added.

Comment: Colonel Davis was 10th Group Commander while I was there. I liked him. The troops loved him. He wouldn’t remember me, but I bet he remembers my intel sergeant. He was a 10th Group character who was on the ground in Iran preparing the way for Operation Eagle Claw.

That photo above is how he looked when I knew him. We were a hairy lot back then, but still devilishly handsome. Note his armor branch insignia. That was when Special Forces was branch immaterial. I’m pretty sure I have a copy of that command photo packed away in my cellar.

I first read of Colonel Davis’ nomination to receive the Medal of Honor about a year ago in a NYT article. I had no idea of his exploits in Viet Nam. He never once mentioned it while I was at Fort Devens. Of course that’s what one expects of a quiet professional. The NYT article makes a big deal about his Medal of Honor nomination being lost twice. Maybe it was racism. Maybe it wasn’t. At the time big Army didn’t like Green Berets either. Colonel Davis never bitched about it commenting last year, “I’m not a victim of anything. The other night, I tried to write down the things I’m a victim of. I couldn’t think of a thing.” I’ll take my cue from him. Congratulations, Colonel Davis.


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9 Responses to Colonel Paris Davis to get the Medal of Honor – TTG

  1. Bill Roche says:

    I was not there. In ’65 I was drinking beer in College. I am in awe of the courage of men like Davis. We all should be.

    • TTG says:

      Bill Roche,

      Hell, I was still in grammar school.

      • Whitewall says:

        Hmm, I thought you were closing in on 80? Sorry.
        Any update on Colonel Lang?

        • TTG says:


          I’m a few scant months shy of 70. Still young enough to do tree work with hatchet and hand saw and paddle/sail the Potomac. My father shoveled Maine snow and carried his own canoe down to the lake well into his 80s. I hope to follow in his footsteps.

          I heard Colonel Lang went into hospital today for some more tests. I’ll get an update tomorrow.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Today March 3rd the Award ceremony for Col. Davis was held. Men such as he are uncommon. They have “uncommon valor”. Congratulations Col. Davis.

  2. schmuckatelli says:

    This has been a long time in the making. I met Colonel Davis once in the mid-90s though certain he would not remember me. I do know many in his immediate family well. Thank you TTG for your comment about “Big Army” as it is much closer to the mark than what most will hear.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    An awesome story. I probably owe my life to an African-American Green Beret who, in the bar, stepped between me and an individual who, as it turned out, was Roberto Duran’s sparring partner. Carl, a giant, martial-arts instructor, and one of the smartest and most intensely and highly educated people I’ve ever met. I can’t think of a subject he couldn’t go on about into the wee hours at at least a Ph.D level. I will never stop regarding the VN war as a tragic, horrendous, complex of error, delusion and worse. That it swept up individuals of this much talent, fearlessness and honor in its midst only adds to the tragedy in my opinion. Thanks, TTG.

  4. Whitewall says:

    I see the reCapcha ‘are you a robot’ feature is now in use. Probably a good idea. Really I’m not a robot, but intend to be one in my next life.

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