PASSINGS: Ola Lee Mize

Ola Lee Mize

Medal of Honor recipient dies at 82

Ola Lee Mize, 82, a Medal of Honor recipient who fended off enemy assaults and rescued wounded soldiers during the Korean War, died Wednesday in Gadsden, Ala., after a long illness. His death was confirmed by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Mize was an Army master sergeant in June 1953 when his company was caught in a heavy attack near Surang-ni, South Korea. He endured an intense barrage to rescue a wounded soldier, then routed enemy soldiers who had penetrated the Americans' trenches, inflicting heavy casualties.

According to his citation, Mize was knocked down by artillery and grenade blasts three times "but each time he dauntlessly returned to his position, tenaciously fighting and successfully repelling hostile attacks." He then led others in his company in a grenade attack that neutralized the enemy positions.

When an enemy soldier suddenly appeared behind one of Mize's men, Mize killed him before he could injure anyone. Then he fought his way to a machine gun position, killed 10 enemy soldiers, protected wounded troops and called in artillery strikes.

At dawn the next day, the citation said, he helped regroup for a counterattack that drove the enemy from the outpost.

Born in Albertville, Ala., on Aug. 28, 1931, Mize became an officer in 1956 and served three tours in Vietnam as a member of the Special Forces. He later served as commander of the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg, retiring as a colonel in 1981.

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