His brothers repeatedly told the Army that Capt. Paris Davis deserved the Medal of Honor. The Army kept losing his paperwork… over and over again

What was overlooked in 1965 may come to fruition in 2021.

Here’s what happened:

In Vietnam, in the middle of a raid on an enemy camp, Paris Davis was blown up by a grenade that blasted out several of his teeth and tore off part of his trigger finger. The enemy then started firing on the Special Forces team he commanded. His most experienced sergeant, Master Sergeant Billy Waugh, was shot. Then the demolitions specialist. Then the only medic.

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

He knew that he was as good as dead and began fighting for his life. He was pulling his M-16 trigger with his pinkie, repeatedly sprinting into open ground to rescue teammates, and refusing to leave the fight, even after being shot several times.

Colonel Paris Davis could receive the MOH
Col. Paris Davis, who retired from the U.S. Army Special Forces, photographed this month in Alexandria, Va. While fighting in the Vietnam War in 1965, Mr. Davis performed a stunning series of heroic acts during an 18-hour battle, including dragging three wounded men to safety after he had been shot five times. (Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times)

First, he brought in the weapons specialist. Then he ran to get the master sergeant but was shot through the leg and had to retreat. During the next bomb strike, he found an opportunity, limped back out across the rice field, and grabbed the sergeant. A bullet clipped Captain Davis’s arm, but he hoisted the sergeant over his shoulder and carried him back to safety.

Reinforcements arrived and found Captain Davis wounded and covered in blood. The major in command ordered him to evacuate, but he refused, saying he still needed to rescue his medic.