The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
JOE C. PAUL
United States Marine Corp
Joe C. Paul
Lance Corporal Joe C. Paul
United States Marine Corp
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Fire Team Leader with Company H, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division (Reinforced) during Operation STARLITE near Chu Lai in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 August 1965. In violent battle, Corporal 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. Corporal Paul, fully aware that his tactics would almost certainly result in serious injury or death to himself, chose to disregard his own 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 United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
President of the United States
Lance Corporal Joe C. Paul, a 19 year-old Marine who lost his life after diverting an attack long enough to allow the evacuation of wounded buddies during Operation Starlight near Chu Lai, Vietnam, on 18 August 1965, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on 7 February 1967. He was honored in ceremonies in the Office of Secretary of the Navy, Paul H. Nitze, who presented the award to his parents.
Joe Calvin Paul was born 23 April 1946, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He graduated from grammar school and attended high school for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps on 26 April 1963, shortly after his seventeenth birthday.
In August 1963, after completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, California, where he underwent individual combat training with the Second Infantry Training Regiment, graduating in October 1963.
He then joined Company H, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, in Hawaii where he was promoted to private first class in December 1963 and to lance corporal in October 1964. With that unit, he sailed for the Far East, arriving in Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam on 7 May 1965 where this unit was redesignated Company H, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division.
On 18 August 1965, while serving as a fire team leader with Company H, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, LCpl Paul placed himself between his wounded comrades and the enemy and delivered effective suppressive fire in order to divert the Viet Cong long enough to allow the casualties to be evacuated. He fought in this exposed position until he was mortally wounded. He succumbed to his wounds the next day, 19 August 1965.
His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
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