Army Master Sgt. Ola L. Mize

Ola L. Mize, United States Army, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient. (U.S. Army photo)
Ola L. Mize, United States Army, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient. (U.S. Army photo)

During World War II, when the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division was under threat from Germans headed for Paris, a French officer asked Maj. Gen. Joe Dickman if he would withdraw. Dickman's reply: "Nous resterons la!", or "We will stay there!" That became the division's motto, and it is nowhere better illustrated than in the actions of Korean War Medal of Honor winner Ola L. Mize.

Company K, 15th Infantry of the 3rd Division took over Outpost Harry near Chumon on June 4, 1953. On June 8, U.N. and Chinese communist delegates seemed ready to sign a cease-fire. Less than 48 hours later, however, the communist forces attacked. Outpost Harry was first hit on the night of June 11.

Mize, then a 21-year-old sergeant, first rescued a wounded man at a listening post for Outpost Harry, then assessed the damage to the listening post and began to set up its defense. Waves of troops came at Mize and the few men who had survived the first attack. In the wreckage, Mize used his carbine to gun down enemy soldiers, while two other Americans caught and refilled his empty clips as quickly as possible.

When the small band had nearly run out of ammunition, Mize decided they should head for the platoon command post -- but they found it battered and out of action. They gathered the ammunition and weapons there and formed a barricade. Mize kept them going for two hours until the enemy fire abated. He encouraged them, moved from one to the next, and begged them to keep up their fire. After a quick patrol, Mize found a lieutenant with a radio set and ordered artillery to take out the enemy positions on the hill.

At dawn, Mize ordered the artillery to cease fire, then organized a counterattack that wiped out the remaining enemy. Mize and the eight men who were left, having regained the bunkers, went back to their battalion.

The battalion commander was incredulous when he learned how Mize had almost single-handedly held Outpost Harry. "Well, there I was when the attack came," the modest sergeant explained. "There just wasn't time to be scared or anything. We had to try and hold that position."

(Adapted from Bruce Jacobs' "Outpost Incident" in "Heroes of the Army: the Medal of Honor and Its Winners")

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