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First Name: Joe

Last Name: Paul

Birthplace: Williamsburg, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Dayton, OH
Middle Name: Calvin

Date of Birth: 23 April 1946

Date of Death: 19 August 1965

Rank: Lance Corporal

Years Served: 1963-1965
Joe Calvin Paul

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Joe Calvin Paul
Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Lance Corporal Joe Calvin Paul (23 April 1946 - 19 August 1965) was a U.S. Marine who was killed in the Vietnam War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for diverting an attack long enough to allow the evacuation of wounded Marines during Operation Starlite near Chu Lai, Vietnam on 18 August 1965.

Joe Calvin Paul was born on 23 April 1946 in Williamsburg, KY. He graduated from grammar school and attended high school for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps on 26 April 1963 in Dayton, OH, shortly after his seventeenth birthday.

In August 1963, after completing recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where he underwent individual combat training with the Second Infantry Training Regiment, graduating in October 1963.

He then joined Company H, 2nd 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, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

On 18 August 1965, while serving as a fire team leader with Company H, 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 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.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

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 phosphorus 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.


On 7 February 1967, during a ceremony in the Office of Secretary of the Navy, Paul H. Nitze, Lance Corporal Joe Calvin Paul's Medal of Honor was presented to his parents.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Joe Calvin Paul's name is inscribed on Panel 02E, Line 063.


• The United States Navy Knox-class destroyer escort, USS Paul (FF-1080) (ex-DE 1080) was named for Lance Corporal Joe Calvin Paul. The ship was christened and launched on 20 June 1970, and decommissioned in August 1992.

Death and Burial

Lance Corporal Joe Calvin Paul died on 19 August 1965 of wounds incurred in action on 19 August 1965. He is buried at the Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery in Dayton, OH.

Honoree ID: 1048   Created by: MHOH




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