Col. Paris Davis’ story first gained national attention after the Black retired Vietnam War hero gave his only televised interview with “CBS Mornings” two years ago. During the program, he revealed that when it was time for him to receive the Medal of Honor, his paperwork mysteriously disappeared in 1965.

Doug Sterner, a military historian who was also on active duty in Vietnam, told the network, “This is a veteran, a war hero, who was submitted for our nation’s highest honor, and the paperwork for that award was actually lost. The military is redundant in paperwork if nothing else. And so it’s very rare for that to occur.” Some believe Davis’ race played a key role in him not being bestowed the recognition. In June 1965, he was one of the first Black Army captains in the Green Berets and led a nearly 19-hour raid northeast of Saigon. Billy Waugh, who fought alongside Davis, told CBS the hero came to his rescue after he’d been wounded in battle: “We ended up in an open area together. He grabbed me, and he (dragged) me.”

“I know race was a factor,” Davis expressed to the network. He remembered telling troops, “You can call me Capt. Davis… but you can’t call me a n**ger,” although he said, “It did happen.” Now, at 83 years old, the veteran will finally receive what he earned. According to a statement from the White House, on Monday (Feb. 13), President Joe Biden personally told the retired captain he will receive the Medal of Honor “for his remarkable heroism during the Vietnam War.” Davis released a message following the special phone call. “The call today from President Biden 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,” he shared.

Davis added, “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.”

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