Valor Friday comes twice this week

| December 1, 2022

Colonel Paris Davis (USA ret)

I’ve already got the article written for VF this week, but this one popped up in current news. I didn’t want to deprive you of his story. Hence you’re getting a two-fer this week on copious amount of cajones from our uniformed services.

Jeff LPH 3 sends in word on Colonel Paris Davis, a Green Beret veteran of the Vietnam War, might be getting a Medal of Honor soon. This comes after the colonel’s award recommendation was lost by the Army. Twice. He commanded the special operations legend Billy Waugh in this combat action, personally carrying the critically injured SNCO off the battlefield.

From Army Times;

One of the first Black officers to lead a Special Forces team in combat, then-Capt. Paris Davis distinguished himself on June 18, 1965, during a pre-dawn raid on a North Vietnamese Army camp in Bong Son. After initial success, a major enemy counterattack wounded every American there — and he thought death for his comrades would soon follow.

Leaving behind his wounded soldiers, despite an order to withdraw, wasn’t an option.

Davis, a former All-American college running back who would eventually command 10th Special Forces Group before retiring as a colonel in 1985, rescued each member of his team. He sprinted into an open rice paddy repeatedly to retrieve each of them, firing his rifle with his little finger after an enemy grenade shattered his hand. Thanks to Davis’ efforts and timely air support, his entire team survived the battle.

The Black officer’s commander immediately recommended him for the Medal of Honor, but the paperwork disappeared at least twice. He eventually received a Silver Star Medal for his actions that day, and Davis’ team members have long argued that his race played a role.

Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller agreed and ordered an expedited review of Davis’ Medal of Honor package in early 2021, first reported by the New York Times. Miller late wrote an opinion piece calling out defense department bureaucracy for continued delays.

Now, Army Times has confirmed that Davis’ upgrade package is complete and awaits Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s approval. If Austin approves it, the request for the nation’s top valor award will go to President Joe Biden’s office for the final nod and presentation.

A source familiar with Davis’ award upgrade request told Army Times that it arrived on Austin’s desk last week. first reported the news, citing an anonymous Pentagon official.

The endeavor to right the injustice Davis faced is occurring alongside a broader effort to consider Medal of Honor upgrades for historically marginalized ethnic and racial groups. Last year, Austin ordered the services to review service crosses — the second-highest medals for combat valor — received by Black and Native American troops in the nation’s largest 20th-century wars.

But such reviews wouldn’t find cases like Davis’ or the 2021 posthumous upgrade that Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe received. The two Black soldiers only received the Silver Star initially for their heroism, a lower-level valor award, which would have excluded them from the mass review of service crosses, such as the one Austin ordered.

Instead, it took years of advocacy from comrades, activists and community members moved by their actions.

According to Wikipedia, Davis wrote this about 18 June 1965 (for which he received the Silver Star and Purple Heart);

We had just finished a successful raid on a Viet Cong Regimental Headquarters, killing upwards of one hundred of the enemy. The raid had started shortly after midnight. We had four Americans and the 883rd Vietnamese Regional Force Company participating in the raid. After the raid was completed the first platoon of the 883rd Company broke and started to run just about the same time I gave the signal to pull in the security guarding the river bank. I went after the lead platoon, MSG Billy Waugh was with the second platoon, SSG David Morgan was with the third platoon and SP-1 Brown was with the fourth platoon. It was just beginning to get light (dawn) when I caught up to the first platoon and got them organized and we were hit by automatic machine gun fire. It was up front and the main body of the platoon was hit by the machine gun. I was hit in the hand by a fragment from a hand grenade. About the time I started moving the platoon back to the main body, I heard firing and saw it wounded friendly VN soldier running from the direction of the firing. He told me that the remainder of the 883rd Company was under attack. I moved the platoon I had back towards the main body. When I reached the company, the enemy had it pinned down in an open field with automatic weapons and mortar fire.

I immediately ordered the platoon I had to return the fire, but they did not – only a few men fired. I started firing at the enemy moving up and down the line, encouraging the 883rd Company to return the fire. We started to receive fire from the right flank. 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. 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.

MSG Waugh started to yell that he had been shot in the foot. I ran to the middle of the open field and tried to get MSG Waugh, but the Viet Cong automatic fire was too intense and I had to move back to safety. By this time SSG Morgan, who was at the edge of the open field, came to. He had been knocked out by a VC mortar round. He told me that he was receiving sniper fire. I spotted the sniper and shot him in his camouflaged manhole. I crawled over and dropped a grenade in the hole killing two additional Viet Cong.

I was able at this time to make contact with the FAC CPT Bronson and SGT Ronald Dies. CPT Bronson diverted a flight of 105’s and had them drop their bombs on the enemy’s position. I ran out and pulled SSG Morgan to safety. He was slightly wounded and I treated him for shock. The enemy again tried to overrun our position. I picked up a machine gun and started firing. I saw four or five of the enemy drop and the remaining ones break and run. I then set up the 60mm mortar, dropped about five or six mortars down the tube and ran out and tried to get MSG Waugh. SSG Morgan was partially recovered and placing machine gun fire into the enemy position. I ran out and tried to pick up MSG Waugh, who had by now been wounded four times in his right foot. I tried to pick him up, but I was unable to do so. I was shot slightly in the back of my leg as I ran for cover. By this time CPT Bronson had gotten a flight of F-4s. They started to drop bombs on the enemy. I ran out again and this time was shot in the wrist, but I was able to pick up MSG Waugh and carried him fireman style, in a hail of automatic weapon fire, to safety. I called for a MEDEVAC for MSG Waugh. When the MEDEVAC came I carried MSG Waugh about 200 yards (180 m) up over a hill. As I put MSG Waugh on the helicopter, SFC Reinburg got off the ship and ran down to where the 883rd Company was located. He was shot through the chest almost immediately. I ran to where he was and gave him first aid. With SSG Morgan’s help I pulled him to safety.

The enemy again tried to overrun our position. I picked up the nearest weapon and started to fire. I was also throwing grenades. I killed about six or seven. I was then ordered to take the troops I had and leave. I informed the Colonel in the C&C ship that I had one wounded American and one American I didn’t know the status of. I informed the Colonel that I would not leave until I got all the Americans out. SFC Reinburg was MEDEVACed out. The fighting continued until mid-afternoon. We could not get the Company we had to fight. The enemy tried to overrun our position two more times. We finally got reinforcements and with them I was able to go out and get SP-1 Brown who lay out in the middle of the field some fourteen hours from the start until the close of the battle.

I can’t find any citation for Colonel Davis for that June day in 1965. I can find a citation for then-Major Davis receiving a Soldier’s Medal (the highest award for non-combat personal bravery, the non-combat equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross). Here’s how much of a badass Davis is;

Soldier’s Medal
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Army
Rank: Major
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 80 (December 16, 1968)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Soldier’s Medal to Major (Armor), [then Captain] Paris D. Davis (ASN: OF-110648), United States Army, for heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict with an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 13 May 1965 at Bong San. He witnessed an aviation fuel truck jackknife and roll over on its side, pinning the driver to the steering wheel. Disregarding his personal safety, he ordered the remaining members of his detachment to stay clear of the truck, and proceeded to pry the steering wheel away from the trapped driver. Disregarding the pleas to abandon the driver and flaming truck, Major Davis worked his comrade loose and then carried him away from the truck just as it exploded. Major Davis’ heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Hot damn. That’s some action movie heroics right there.

Here’s the DSC citation for SFC Reinburg. Among many other heroics in the battle, “He was critically wounded while accomplishing this task. Though knocked to the ground, he still attempted to crawl and drag the machinegun into position until he became unconscious.”

Sounds to me like there’s more than one MoH that was earned that day.

Category: Army, Historical, Valor, Vietnam

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Good God what an ordeal.


Balls of steel.


Or perhaps titanium testicles?


Seems like the only weapon this Warrior didn’t bring to bear was his pocket knife. Also seems like the phrase “For Sale ARVN Rifle, never fired and only dropped once” was coined on this day too. Was it his race or was he not a ring knocker that caused his paperwork to “get lost”…twice?

BZ Good Sir…A Warrior’s Warrior.

Thanks again, Mason for bringing us these stories.


Holy Shit. That’s some Audie Murphy stuff there.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

 My M16 jammed, so I…..hit the other with my M16 again and again until he was dead.”
Now THERE is some bad-assery.
The M16 jam-o-matic.
Were M16s more robust then to be able to survive such a pounding? At least you know that the M16 was multipurpose.

If it’s a Mattel, you know it’s swell…


At Campbell I carried an XM-16a1 manufactured by Whirlpool.


No, you didn’t. You either had a Colt, a Harrington and Richardson (H&R), or a GM Hydramatic Division rifle. These were the only contractors for the M16A1. If it was truly an XM, it was a Colt.

Also, no. Mattel never made a single item for the rifle…ever.

Since this was 1965, the M16 had not been fully fool-proofed and there was an ammo problem that contributed to jamming. By 1968 this problem had been solved. None of those I carried or shot ever had a jamming problem. Everyone in the infantry units I served in was pretty religious about keeping them clean and well lubed.


Why was this warrior NOT honored with the Medal of Honor for this heroism????? And SF to boot???? Sheeeeesh.


Oh …. and nice ring!!


Great to see the 10th SFG(A) finally had a real combat leader as commander in the early 80’s. Because after Col. S.F. Little commanded, he was replaced by a career bureaucrat who had never served in SF before. He had merely attended SFOC. He didn’t even know how to properly wear the beret.


When did SF morph over to wearing the beret as a “pancake” pulled over the right eye? It just looks wrong to me. I grew up in SF and met the legendary Aito Keravuori as a kid — he came over to our house. Dad was his S4.


Pre “pancake” beret:


Colonel Davis is a giant among men. This honor is way past due. It is a shame that stuff like this happens to honorable and brave men. I agree about SFC Reinburg. That man had serious intestinal fortitude. He should be awarded the MoH for actions as well.


Additional info on SFC Reinburg:

His obituary notice (from 2003 at age 70) states that in addition to the DSC, he was also awarded three Silver Stars and six Purple Hearts.

So yes, a hard look for upgrade to the MOH is in order.


“three Silver Stars and six Purple Hearts”

and the NDSM of course…..


NDSM x 2

Born 1933, enlisted in the Army May 1953, so he got one for both Korea and Viet of the Nam.