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First Name: Paul

Last Name: Harrison

Birthplace: Long Beach, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Lakewood, CA
Middle Name: James

Date of Birth: 12 August 1945

Date of Death: 21 May 1966

Rank: Specialist 4

Years Served: 1963 - 1966
Paul James Harrison

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Paul James Harrison
Specialist Four, U.S. Army

Paul James Harrison was born on 12 August 1945 in Long Beach, CA, the son of William and Caryl C. Harrison.

On 21 May 1966, Specialist Four Paul James Harrison was serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), in South Vietnam.

On that day, SPC4 Harrison was a rifleman during a combat mission. The mortar platoon of SPC4 Harrison's Company C was scheduled to be the last element to be extracted from the operational area. As the last rifle platoon was extracted, the mortar platoon received intense hostile fire from an estimated Viet Cong company that began attacking in full force. Observing that the platoon's single mortar weapon was destroyed during the initial attack, SPC4 Harrison ran through the intense hostile fire and began delivering suppressive fire onto the advancing Viet Cong. SPC4 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. Knowing that many of the withdrawing troops were hit by Viet Cong fire, SPC4 Harrison decided to hold his ground alone and provided as much fire cover as possible for his comrades. SPC4 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, SPC4 Harrison 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 enemy. By his courageous and selfless action, he undoubtedly saved the rest of his unit. SPC4 Harrison's extraordinary heroism, at the cost of his life, earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation


The name Paul J Harrison is located on Panel 7E Line 96 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.


Specialist Four Paul James Harrison is buried at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, Orange County, CA.

Honoree ID: 251992   Created by: MHOH




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