Winston-Salem native, Specialist Fifth Class Lawrence Joel of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, fought during Operation HUMP. Despite being shot in the leg, Joel continued to treat his fellow Paratroopers and search for the wounded. After being hit in the thigh by a second bullet, Joel maneuvered himself through heavy enemy fire to treat 13 additional soldiers. Throughout the 24 hour battle, Joel continued to comfort and treat the wounded until he was evacuated. On March 9, 1967 President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Joel the Congressional Medal of Honor on the White House lawn. Johnson stated that Joel exhibited “a very special kind of courage- the unarmed heroism of compassion and service to others.” He was the first medic to earn the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War, and the first living African American to receive this medal since the Spanish–American War in 1898. As a tribute to his lasting legacy, his hometown of Winston-Salem named a coliseum after him known as the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Pictured below is an image of Specialist Fifth Class Lawrence Joel, alongside a picture of an exhibit showcased at the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum depicting Joel’s heroic actions.

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