Korean War hero Col. Ola Lee Mize dies

By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: March 13, 2014

A Medal of Honor recipient with ties to several Fort Bragg units died Wednesday. Col. Ola Lee Mize's death was announced by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. He was 82.

The group said Col. Mize died in Gadsden, Ala. Funeral services are pending.

Col. Mize served in the 82nd Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group and 7th Special Forces Group during a 31-year Army career.

He received the nation's highest military award in 1954 for actions in Korea.

Then-Master Sgt. Mize was assigned to Company K, 15th Infantry Regiment near Surang-ni, Korea, when he led his soldiers in bunker-to-bunker attacks to clear enemy forces during a defense of "Outpost Harry."

Col. Mize rescued a wounded soldier and led the defense of trenches that had been penetrated by enemy soldiers, according to his medal citation.

"During his fearless actions he was blown down by artillery and grenade blasts three times but each time he dauntlessly returned to his position, tenaciously fighting and successfully repelling hostile attacks," the citation reads.

When the onslaught stopped, Col. Mize led his small force in search of the enemy, saving one soldier's life when ambushed by an enemy, then moving man to man to distribute ammunition while shouting words of encouragement.

Col. Mize then fought his way to an overrun machine gun position, killing 10 enemies and scattering the rest. At dawn, he led a counterattack that drove the enemy from the area.

Col. Mize was a native of Alabama. He began his Army career with the 82nd Airborne Division's 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment.

In 1956, he was commissioned an officer and later completed Special Forces training at fort Bragg.

In 1962, Col. Mize was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group and later served with the 5th Special Forces Group.

Col. Mize was deployed to Vietnam as an A-Team leader before being assigned to the Special Forces Training Group at Fort Bragg in 1965. He led the advanced training committee for SCUBA, HALO and SKY HOOK schools and, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, is credited with starting the present-day Combat Divers Qualification Course in Key West, Fla.

Col. Mize returned to Vietnam from 1966 to 1967 with the 5th Special Forces Group and again in 1969, when he was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group as commander of the 3rd Mobile Force Command , serving alongside Cambodian troops.

In 1975, Col. Mize became the Special Forces School Chief for the Field Training Division and Resistance Division and Fort Bragg and later served as commander of the Special Forces School.

In 2009, Col. Mize was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment at Fort Bragg.

His other military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star (with four Oak Leaf Clusters), Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, SCUBA Badge and the Combat Infantryman's Badge (second award).

Col. Ola Lee Mize


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