Distinguished Service Cross

Paul J. Harrison


Specialist Four

Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

21 May 1966

Republic of Vietnam


For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:  

Specialist Four Harrison distinguished himself on 21 May 1966 while serving as a rifleman during a combat mission.  On this date, the mortar platoon of Specialist Four Harrison's company was scheduled to be the lat element to be extracted from the operational area. As the last rifle platoon was extracted, the mortar platoon suddenly received intense hostile fire from an estimated Viet Cong company which began attacking in full force. Observing that the platoon's single mortar weapon was destroyed during the initial attack, Specialist Four Harrison immediately rushed through the intense hostile fire and began delivering suppressive fire onto the advancing Viet Cong. Inspired by his aggressiveness, Specialist Four Harrison's comrades held their ground as long as possible. When the ammunition supply became critically low and position after position succumbed to the overwhelming insurgent force, the remaining members of the mortar platoon were forced to withdraw. Recognizing that many of the withdrawing troops were hit by Viet Cong fire, Specialist Four Harrison decided to hold his ground alone and provided as much fire cover as possible for his comrades. With complete disregard his safety, Specialist Four Harrison advanced forward to a vantage point to draw the hostile fire away from his comrades and to more efficiently provide fire cover for the withdrawing survivors. When his ammunition was expended and the insurgent force was advancing toward his position, Specialist Four Harrison fearlessly jumped from his foxhole, charged the Viet Cong and engaged them in hand to hand combat. He continued to inflict casualties until he was finally overcome by the surmountable odds. Through his courage, he undoubtedly saved the remainder of his unit. Specialist Four Harrison's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

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