WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — One of the nation’s first Black special forces officers received an overdue honor at the White House Friday.
President Joe Biden awarded retired Col. Paris Davis with the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Vietnam War.
The award came after the Army said it lost his submission twice. It’s a moment nearly 6 decades in the making.
“You are everything this medal means,” said Biden as he bestowed the country’s highest military award.
In 1965, at the age of 26, Davis led a special forces team into combat in Vietnam. For nearly two days, he fought through his own injuries, engaged in hand-to-hand combat against Vietnamese forces and refused to leave any of his soldiers behind.
“Saved each of his fellow Americans — every single one,” said Biden.
This is far from his first military honor, but it did take the longest to receive. For reasons some link to racism, the Army lost his recommendation for the Medal of Honor in 1965 and again in 1969.
But in 2021, the Acting Secretary of Defense called that an injustice and ordered a review of Davis’s case.
Last month, the president called to deliver the good news.
“This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our first fully integrated armed force and the name Paris Davis will still stand alongside the nation’s pioneer heroes”
The 83-year-old, who the president described as a humble man with Midwest roots, spoke to reporters briefly following the ceremony.
“God bless you. God bless all God, Bless America,” said Davis.
Davis served in the military for 25 years before retiring. He is now the 268th Vietnam veteran to receive the honor.