Medal of Honor Recipient Col. Ola Lee Mize Honored by Special Forces

Colonel Ola Lee Mize had a hard time enlisting in the Army in 1950 because he weighed only 120 pounds. But Col. Mize persisted until the recruiters allowed him to sign up. When the Korean War broke out, he extended his enlistment so that he could experience combat.

On June 10, 1953, Col. (then-Sergeant) Mize’s unit and another unit came under attack by the Chinese forces. The U.S. command center immediately assumed that the units had been wiped out. Armed with a carbine that he had found a few weeks earlier, Col. Mize attacked the dozens of Chinese clogging the American trenches. He killed approximately 40 of them.

All the officers were either dead or wounded, so Col. Mize worked frantically to establish a defensive position. At one point he killed a Chinese who was just about to shoot an American soldier. At another he saved a machinegun from being taken by the Chinese. He managed to kill 10 Chinese while saving the gun, but the 3 Americans using the gun were already killed.

When the situation seemed lost, Col. Mize and his men crawled into bunkers; and he called in American artillery. He survived the artillery barrage. Early the next morning he made his way back to headquarters. When he was asked his name, the other officer responded, “You’re not Mize. He’s dead.”

After leaving Korea, Col. Mize remained in the Army and joined the Special Forces. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam before retiring in 1981.

Col. Mize will be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment today in Fort Bragg. Read more on this subject, or purchase the Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, which tells the stories of 116 Medal of Honor recipients.

Explore posts in the same categories: Korea, Vietnam

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