Two of Alexandria’s most decorated Vietnam veterans will be honored by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services as Gov. Glenn Youngkin renames the Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke in honor of Army Col. Paris Davis and Navy Capt. Eugene “Red” McDaniel.
A special renaming ceremony will be held at the Virginia Veterans Care Center Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.
“Governor Youngkin made a surprise call to my dad letting him know,” said McDaniel’s son Michael. “I knew about the call and my job was to make sure my dad was at home and near the phone. When it rang my dad said, ‘it’s probably another robo call’ but I made sure he answered it. Thankfully, my dad recognized Youngkin’s voice. The Governor was very gracious and they had a nice talk. My son and grandson were there as well. It was very special.”
McDaniel, 92, spent six years in captivity at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton. Time Magazine once declared him as one of the most brutally tortured prisoners of the Vietnam war.
Named a Living Legend of Alexandria in 2019, McDaniel was on his 81st combat mission over North Vietnam when his A-6 Intruder aircraft was shot down on May 19, 1967. For three years, McDaniel was listed as Missing in Action before the Hanoi government finally acknowledged in 1970 that he was alive and being held prisoner. He was released on March 4, 1973, returning to active duty and retiring from the Navy following nearly 30 years of service.
Davis, 84, is one of the nation’s most recent recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. President Joe Biden presented Davis with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony March 3. Davis was also inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
In June of 1965, a wounded and bloodied Davis, then a Special Forces captain, twice refused orders to quit the battlefield of Bong Son until he had saved multiple wounded teammates in a brutal 19-hour hand-to-hand battle with a Viet Cong battalion. Due to his heroics, Davis’s entire team survived the battle.
A reception honoring Davis was held in June at the Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Del Ray with McDaniel as a guest speaker.
Members of the public are invited to attend the Roanoke ceremony, which will feature remarks by local, state and federal officials along with the formal renaming of the VVCC to the Davis & McDaniel Veterans Care Center. A reception and tour of the care center will follow the approximately one-hour ceremony.
The VVCC is located at 4550 Shenandoah Ave. N.W., Roanoke, Va. 24017, adjacent to the Salem VA Medical Center. Attendees are encouraged to arrive by 10:30 a.m.