Author Topic: A Black soldier was recommended for the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. The Army kept losing  (Read 534 times)

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Offline sneakypete

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https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/ct-aud-nw-nyt-black-soldier-medal-of-honor-20210216-pfkq3pzrhvhcxbzbwf2taoxrfe-story.html



By Dave Philipps
The New York Times |
Feb 16, 2021 at 12:07 PM



Capt. Paris Davis was in the thick of a predawn raid on an enemy camp in Vietnam when a grenade blasted out several of his teeth and, more troubling, tore off part of his trigger finger. Then enemy fire started pelting the Special Forces team he commanded. His most experienced sergeant was shot down. Then the demolitions specialist. Then the only medic.

It was June 18, 1965, and according to after-action reports, Davis, 26, was suddenly the last American standing with a ragtag company of 90 South Vietnamese volunteers, pinned down by hundreds of enemy troops.

Certain that he was as good as dead, he began fighting without fear of consequence, pulling his M-16 trigger with his pinkie, sprinting repeatedly into open ground to rescue teammates, and refusing to leave the fight, even after being shot several times.

He made it out alive and was immediately nominated for the military’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. But the Army somehow lost the nomination. His frustrated commander resubmitted it, and inexplicably the nomination disappeared again.

His teammates pushed several more times over the years for the medal, only to be met, they said, with silence and indifference. They eventually came to believe the Army’s inaction had nothing to do with what the captain had done in 1965 and everything to do with who he was: one of the first Black officers in the Special Forces.

“What other assumption can you make?” said Ron Deis, 77, who was the youngest soldier on the team in 1965 and is one of a group of veterans who are still pressing for Davis to receive the award.

“We all knew he deserved it then,” Deis said during an interview from his home in Anchorage, Alaska, as he wiped away tears. “He sure as hell deserves it now.”

After 55 years of trying, the group got a sign of hope in January. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller personally ordered an expedited review of the lost nomination, to be completed by March. The resulting report will then go up the chain to the secretary of the Army, the secretary of Defense and finally President Joe Biden. If they all sign off, Davis, now 81, may finally be recognized.

The Army declined to comment on the award or answer questions about the reasons for earlier delays, saying in a statement that its policy is not to discuss any award until a final decision is made.
...

Trimmed the quote for Fair Use compliance.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 12:31:57 PM by MOD4 »
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Offline sneakypete

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BTW,I seriously doubt it had anything to do with racism,even though I understand why the good Colonel might think so.

There were a LOT of people in the regular Army that thought SF was getting too much of the glory and too many of the medals,so once the award got past the SF level of approval,a lot of them were dismissed BECAUSE they were for SF soldiers.

There is even one case of a regular army soldier serving in the SF headquarters company at Nha Trang as a personnel specialist in the late 60's confessed in the late 90's that he had automatically thrown away a lot of SF heroism awards because he was jealous.

 I suspect I was one of these because I found a letter from the South Vietnamese Government in my fathers bank safety deposit box when he died in the 90's that awarded me the Vietnamese Silver Star. I had been medievaced from VN,so the award letter was sent directly to my home instead of to my next duty assignment. I have no idea why he locked it away in the bank box instead of giving it to me,but he did.

Like many VN vets,I was medievaced right after an operation and by the time the awards were written and sent forward,nobody who had witnessed or known about the action were around to check to see if it was approved or disapproved,so they were just tossed away. In my case,every man in my hatchet force platoon was killed or wounded on the next mission,so they had other things to worry about than me.

And it wasn't just me. It happened often if you were SF. If was just the price you had to pay to have the honor of serving with and knowing the best soldiers in anybody's army.
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Offline sneakypete

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@rangerrebew

Nobody even bothered to read this?

WTF???? Is it because the words "black soldier" were in the title?
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Offline skeeter

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@rangerrebew

Nobody even bothered to read this?

WTF???? Is it because the words "black soldier" were in the title?
I read it. The guy definitely deserves the MOH. Right away.

I don’t know why it hasn't happened. But I sure get tired of the racism charge.

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@rangerrebew

Nobody even bothered to read this?

WTF???? Is it because the words "black soldier" were in the title?
@sneakypete
I read the post and I read your comments after which it felt like it would be rather demeaning to the subject for me to basically say 'Ditto' to what you had written. I will say that for too long our soldiers, screw race or ancestry they are America's soldiers, have been disrespected and demeaned. I really think this goes back to the Korean war and snowballed with Vietnam. I don't think it's too hard to figure out which segment of our society we have to thank for the vast majority of it.

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Offline sneakypete

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I read it. The guy definitely deserves the MOH. Right away.

I don’t know why it hasn't happened. But I sure get tired of the racism charge.

@skeeter @rangerrebew @GtHawk

Yeah,you ain't by yourself,but the truth is the regular army HATED Special Forces,mostly because they wanted all those NCO's in their conventional units as platoon sgts,and couldn't touch them. Special Forces didn't come under the control of the Army in VN. They couldn't order us to do squat,but could ask politely,and if it didn't interfere with our assigned mission,most team CO's would try to help when they could.

A perfect example of this is when a SF "A" camp in I corps near the Laotian border was being overran,they asked the USMC for help,and the USMC General flat refused to help them,even though helping them was part of his assignment. He resented having any military unit in his area of responsibility that he couldn't order around,and he had already tried to order the SF teams to provide him with recon teams. They all politely told him to go piss up a rope because they already had an assigned mission to teach the locals how to defend themselves against NVA attacks,and that was a full time job.

Anyhow,they asked,he refused,and went to bed. The camp got overran that night with the help of Soviet Tanks,and a couple of the SF guys were killed,a few were trapped in the commo bunker with a Soviet Tank doing donuts over the roof to try to cave it in when a SF relief team from the SOG based out of Nha Trang took it upon themselves to go see if they could help. The got a VN helicopter crew to fly them in,and they got there around dawn. IIRC,they called fast movers in to clear away the NVA so they could land,and when they did,a couple of the SF guys who had been on the perimeter and had E&E'd when the tanks ran through the berm reappeared out of the jungle and were saved. They also managed to get into the bunker and rescue the wounded guys trapped in there . The tank tried to haul ass when they saw the unmarked helicopter land because they knew the fighter-bombers would be right behind it,but they got nailed trying to escape.

IIRC,there are still 2 team members MIA from that day.

You heard about all that on your teebee or in the papers,but what you didn't hear was that same morning at sunrise General Westmoreland,the overall commander of ALL troops in VN also landed at the Marine base and relived that General of duty and appointed his adjutant as the new Commander,and telling him to get his people out there to relieve that camp.

None of this stuff was new to SF. One of my friends was put in for the MoH for going on a 1 man Bright Light rescue mission for a team surrounded in Cambodia,with 5 members too wounded to move,and the 6th member crawling under fire from one wounded team member to another to reload their weapons for them and check their bandages.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Benavidez


It took him over 20 years to get the MoH he had been put in for in 1968. Roy was so crippled up by then from a broken back in a parachute jump and wounds from a couple of tours in VN on other deployments that he was base camp cadre. I was at FOB-2 and he was at FOB-1,and I didn't even know he was there. I found out about all this over 20 years later when I saw him on tv getting the award.

Anyhow,he happened to be walking by the radio shack after attending Sunday church services,and heard the distress calls on the radio. So,quite naturally,he grabbed a "medic bag" and ran for the closest helicopter. He didn't even have a rifle or any web gear. His only armament was the Bowie Knife he carried every day.

It was then he found out the chopper wasn't going to land troops another recon team to help,but was going to do a fly-over and kick an ammo re-supply out the door.

The chopper couldn't get close enough to land where the team was due to all the shooting,so he told them to drop  him off in a nearby clearing and he would run to them.

I can't remember now how many times he got shot or bayoneted before they got out that day,but when the slick finally arrived at an army field hospital the doc on duty declared him KIA,so Roy spit a chuck of blood in his face to prove he was alive.

BTW,remember the Bowie Knife? Roy no longer had it. He left it stinking out of the chest of a NVA that ran up to the helicopter with a satchel charge. It was then he collapsed to the ground,and one of the door gunners jumped out and loaded him on the helicopter.

He was also very soft-spoken,and one of the nicest guys you would ever hope to meet. I knew him starting around 1966. We were never on the same teams,but we met while attending various training classes. I was just a punk E-4 when we met and he was a E-7 with a ton of experience,but he treated me as an equal,always had a smile on his face,and something nice to say. He was like that with everybody he met. I never once heard anyone ever say anything negative about him.

BTW,Roy was an Yanqui Indian from Texas. He grew up in a family of migrant workers,and he joined the army when he was 17 and saw it as a way out of poverty. I just mentioned that because of the race mention in the award of the black Colonel.

IMHO,race had nothing to do with either award taking so long to be awarded. IMHO,it was due purely to them both being in Special Forces,and the regular army hating Special Forces.



One example to prove this is Robert Howard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Howard

I did know Bob,and knew him pretty well. When I first got to FOB-2 and volunteered for Recon,he was the Recon Company 1st Sgt,and I was just a punk E-4 who not only knew nothing,but suspected very little. I called him "Bob" because everybody else there did the same. If you weren't allowed to call him "Bob" it was because you ass was getting sent back to Nha Trang for reassignment.

Bob was a SSG E-6 the first time he was put in for a MoH. He was put in for another one two more times in less than a year. He finally got the award with the 3rd attempt. Even then,the camp commander had to order him to NOT go anywhere guns were being fired to keep him in camp. How many people have you heard of that were put in for a MoH THREE times in less than a year?

AND......,Bob was about as white as white gets.

You may have seen him helping Bush lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on tv. He was sick and frail by them,and dying,but he was there,doing his duty. He died not long after that.

I suspect people with an agenda got to that black Colonel,and due to his age were able to take advantage of him. IF that is true,I sure would like to have a private discussion with them.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 03:04:17 AM by sneakypete »
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Offline skeeter

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Roy Benevidez's exploits are well documented. I've seen numerous bios on the guy. But I had not heard of Col Howard. Both of them sound like they were madmen. Hard to imagine enduring that kind of violence.

There were black soldiers awarded the MOH long before VN - one guy actually won two. In the nineteenth century and for deeds done during peacetime.

Looking at our history this country has been trying to root out bigotry for many, many years, the military leading the way. IMO it has succeeded and should be credited for it. I get so damn tired of the marxists always making it about race. Listening to them today you'd think things were worse than ever and if they keep it up they sure as hell will undo everything thats been accomplished.

Maybe thats what they are hoping for.




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Roy Benevidez's exploits are well documented. I've seen numerous bios on the guy. But I had not heard of Col Howard. Both of them sound like they were madmen. Hard to imagine enduring that kind of violence.

There were black soldiers awarded the MOH long before VN - one guy actually won two. In the nineteenth century and for deeds done during peacetime.

Looking at our history this country has been trying to root out bigotry for many, many years, the military leading the way. IMO it has succeeded and should be credited for it. I get so damn tired of the marxists always making it about race. Listening to them today you'd think things were worse than ever and if they keep it up they sure as hell will undo everything thats been accomplished.

Maybe thats what they are hoping for.

For every MOH winner you have ever heard a thing about, I'll assure you that there are dozens you haven't heard a thing about.  Such as Ed Freeman for example.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Freeman


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdDYNI7V0co
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 10:17:56 AM by Bigun »
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Offline sneakypete

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Roy Benevidez's exploits are well documented. I've seen numerous bios on the guy. But I had not heard of Col Howard. Both of them sound like they were madmen. Hard to imagine enduring that kind of violence.

@skeeter

Ben was normally one of the nicest and most mellow people you could ever hope to meet. Bob could get a little strange,though.

There were black soldiers awarded the MOH long before VN - one guy actually won two. In the nineteenth century and for deeds done during peacetime.

 
Quote
I get so damn tired of the marxists always making it about race.

Well,it is their most useful tool to stir dissent. Want to get people on your side? Just tell them they are victims that would be millionaires if it weren't for "the man" screwing them. EVERYBODY loves to be told nothing that went wrong is THEIR fault.

Quote
Listening to them today you'd think things were worse than ever and if they keep it up they sure as hell will undo everything thats been accomplished.


Yup! At this point,after all that has been done,they are starting to make enemies where none existed before with their perpetual whining about being "vic-tums".

Quote
Maybe thats what they are hoping for.


I have no doubt whatsoever that is what their handlers are hoping for in their quest to overthrow capitalism and individual freedoms.
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Offline skeeter

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For every MOH winner you have ever heard a thing about, I'll assure you that there are dozens you haven't heard a thing about.  Such as Ed Freeman for example.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Freeman


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdDYNI7V0co
Thanks Bigun. This guy waited 35 years to receive his MOH. I doubt anyone would claim it was because of his race.

Offline sneakypete

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Anybody that has seen the Mel Gibson movie "We were soldiers once,and young" knows about Ed Freeman and the truly remarkable and courageous missions he flew in the Ia Drang Valley.

If you haven't seen that movie yet,watch it tonight. You will be glad you did. Seriously. One of the best and most accurate movies about life in the career Army and actual combat that you will ever see. None of that impossible John Wayne crap,but real soldiers doing real soldier jobs at a level that is unbelievable to most people,and puts people in awe who have the experience to believe it.

BTW,I have friends who knew and served in the conventional army with the real Master Sgt that was the General Moore's "First Sargent",Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley,and both have said that Sam Elliot flat NAILED his character.

If you have never seen this movie,you owe it to yourself,if for no other reason,to get an accurate glimpse into what life is like for the typical career soldier in an infantry unit. It ain't just about VN,there is a lot of "home life on an army base" on display,too.

BTW,you can watch it for free on Amazon Prime,or on CBS Streaming.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 12:28:46 PM by sneakypete »
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Offline sneakypete

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Thanks Bigun. This guy waited 35 years to receive his MOH. I doubt anyone would claim it was because of his race.

@skeeter

It wasn't about his lack of courage or witnesses,either.

If I had to guess,it was about some REMF's who did not have combat MOS'es,and who were jealous of the bravery awards the guys out dodging bullets were getting.


Major medals for courage,like Silver Stars and above have to first be approved by the local unit go all the way up through the Division headquarters and then to the Department of the Army Awards and Decorations Committee/Board/whatever the hell they call it.
 
 ALL it takes for the award to not be awarded is for just ONE buttcrack anywhere in the chain of command say "Naw,I don't think so!" and either kick it back,or worse yet,just toss it in the trash can.

As history has proven over and over,it's usually the trash can,and it is usually someone who has never heard a shot fired that does the tossing.

I would bet money this is what happened to Ed Freeman,and the reason it took so long for the award to be given to him was that each time all the witness paperwork was "lost",someone had to remember the names of the witnesses,track them down,and get them to write it up again. In most cases,everybody that witnessed it is dead by the time this happens,so it goes nowhere. If you don't have at least ONE live witness and one congresscritter or Senator pushing it,it won't be awarded even then.

Yeah,it sucks,but that IS the way it is,and nothing can be done about it.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 12:43:01 PM by sneakypete »
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Offline skeeter

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Thanks SP. Given your backgrounds, you and Bigun, your perspectives are alway fascinating and welcomed by those of us who’ve never been there.

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Thanks SP. Given your backgrounds, you and Bigun, your perspectives are alway fascinating and welcomed by those of us who’ve never been there.

Thanks for the kind words @skeeter I can tell you, with absolute certainty that @sneakypete will back me up, that none who received these awards were thinking anything like "I'm gonna get a metal for this" when the thing that got them decorated went down.  And, as Pete has already alluded to, there are a great many who did as much or more and never received any recognition at all save that of those who were there and saw it happen.
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Offline sneakypete

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Thanks for the kind words @skeeter I can tell you, with absolute certainty that @sneakypete will back me up, that none who received these awards were thinking anything like "I'm gonna get a metal for this" when the thing that got them decorated went down.  And, as Pete has already alluded to, there are a great many who did as much or more and never received any recognition at all save that of those who were there and saw it happen.

@skeeter @Bigun

YUP!
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Offline skeeter

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Thanks for the kind words @skeeter I can tell you, with absolute certainty that @sneakypete will back me up, that none who received these awards were thinking anything like "I'm gonna get a metal for this" when the thing that got them decorated went down.  And, as Pete has already alluded to, there are a great many who did as much or more and never received any recognition at all save that of those who were there and saw it happen.

I hope I don't sound overly solicitous here but IMO our combat vets - every one of them - are a rare & valuable resource and should be treated accordingly.

@Bigun @sneakypete

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I hope I don't sound overly solicitous here but IMO our combat vets - every one of them - are a rare & valuable resource and should be treated accordingly.

@Bigun @sneakypete

There was a time, not so long ago, when military service was pretty much a requirement for anyone seeking high political office.  Perhaps it still should be.
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Offline sneakypete

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There was a time, not so long ago, when military service was pretty much a requirement for anyone seeking high political office.  Perhaps it still should be.

@Bigun

Nope. The politically connected and the wealthy rig that game,too. It got us people like JFK and John McLunatic.

Anybody that doesn't think that rank or political connections can't influence a career has never been around many senior officers.
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Online rangerrebew

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As many times as he was "wounded" and received the Purple Heart, it is surprising Lurch Kerry never got one of the big medals.  There is one of the big differences between getting medals, the self-promoter versus the true hero. :patriot:
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Offline sneakypete

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As many times as he was "wounded" and received the Purple Heart, it is surprising Lurch Kerry never got one of the big medals.  There is one of the big differences between getting medals, the self-promoter versus the true hero. :patriot:

@rangerrebew

Kerry was "wounded" 3 times because back then if you were in VN and wounded 3 times,it meant an automatic transfer back to the US unless you wanted to stay. IIRC,Kerry was the acting CO of his boat while the real CO was away at home of leave when all three "wounds" occurred,and wrote himself up for all three Purple Hearts. NONE of them required a doctor's care,or even stitches,and he had them treated at the local dispensary with a bandage.

SOME people think they were all self-inflicted so he could get out of VN before he actually did get shot.

I am one of those people.
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Offline sneakypete

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As many times as he was "wounded" and received the Purple Heart, it is surprising Lurch Kerry never got one of the big medals.  There is one of the big differences between getting medals, the self-promoter versus the true hero. :patriot:

@rangerrebew

IIRC,he did get a Silver Star. He put himself in for it while being the acting CO while the real CO was back home of leave,and IIRC,the real CO was steamed when he got back and found out about it.
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@rangerrebew

IIRC,he did get a Silver Star. He put himself in for it while being the acting CO while the real CO was back home of leave,and IIRC,the real CO was steamed when he got back and found out about it.
@sneakypete

Jon F'n Kerry has zero medals, don't you recall he threw them all over the White House Fence( I know they weren't his, just another of his lies) before he testified before Congress calling real soldiers in Vietnam murders, rapists, etc.

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Offline sneakypete

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@sneakypete

Jon F'n Kerry has zero medals, don't you recall he threw them all over the White House Fence( I know they weren't his, just another of his lies) before he testified before Congress calling real soldiers in Vietnam murders, rapists, etc.

@GtHawk

Yes.,he does,and they are on the wall of his office. The ones he threw over the WH fence were ones he bought at a pawn shop.

BTW,and he DID put himself in for every medal he received. His commander was on leave at the time and Kerry was in charge and put himself in for the medals while he was gone. The overall commander,not Kerry's commander,was a friend of the Kerry family,and approved them.

The 3 Purple Hearts were what got Kerry back in the US without having to serve a whole tour in VN.
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Someone should have taken those medals and jammed them up his *ss so he could really feel the pain. :whistle:
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Offline sneakypete

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Someone should have taken those medals and jammed them up his *ss so he could really feel the pain. :whistle:

@rangerrebew

Don't get me started.

BTW,the only reason Kerry joined the Navy during the VN war was because he wanted to run for President,and admired his idol JFK,who was another phony that was responsible for a Japanese destroyer running over his PT boat while he and everyone else on it were asleep and drifting,instead of watching the strait so they could torpedo any Japanese ship passing through it.

Because of his dereliction of duty,some of the men under his command died from either shark bites or drowning that night.

He volunteered for the Patrol boats because he figured he would get a safe command,inspecting VN fishing boats offshore. Instead,when he got to VN,he was assigned to the River Patrol Boat Squadron,a MUCH more dangerous command because they were always getting ambushed from shorelines. He tried to get out of that by complaining it wasn't what he volunteered for,and when that didn't work,he started collecting Purple Hearts he wrote himself up for because the regulations stated that any military member that got 3 Purple Hearts during a tour would be immediately transferred back to the US. Being a Patrol Boat Commander,he was in a position to write himself up for the Purple Hearts AND the Silver Star,so he did.

The Silver Star needed approval by higher command,but that was taken care of by an Admiral that was a family friend.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2021, 09:25:05 AM by sneakypete »
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