Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

Joe Calvin Paul

  • Rank: Lance Corporal
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company H, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines,
    3d Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 18, 1965
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. In violent battle, L/Cpl. Paul's platoon sustained five casualties as it was temporarily pinned down, by devastating mortar, recoilless-rifle, automatic-weapons, and rifle fire delivered by insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in well-entrenched positions. The wounded marines were unable to move from their perilously exposed positions forward of the remainder of their platoon, and were suddenly subjected to a barrage of white phosphorous rifle grenades. L/Cpl. Paul, fully aware that his tactics would almost certainly result in serious injury or death to himself, chose to disregard his safety and boldly dashed across the fire-swept rice paddies, placed himself between his wounded comrades and the enemy, and delivered effective suppressive fire with his automatic weapon in order to divert the attack long enough to allow the casualties to be evacuated. Although critically wounded during the course of the battle, he resolutely remained in his exposed position and continued to fire his rifle until he collapsed and was evacuated. By his fortitude and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of several of his fellow marines. His heroic action served to inspire all who observed him and reflect the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.

Medal of Honor Recipient Joe C. Paul
Medal of Honor Recipient Joe C. Paul
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 7, 1967

    Marine Barracks, Washington D.C., presented by Under Sec. of the Navy to his family

  • Born: April 23, 1946, Williamsburg, Whitley County, KY, United States
  • Died: August 19, 1965, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Memorial Park Cemetery (MH) (14-4-6), Dayton, OH, United States

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