U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Robert Aderholt are preparing to introduce a bill to name the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Guntersville as the “Colonel Ola Lee Mize Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic,” in honor of the Alabama native and Medal of Honor recipient.
The tribute has the support of the entire Alabama delegation, the Alabama chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans.
A native of Marshall County, Mize received the Medal of Honor while serving as a sergeant with Company K of the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in the Korean War.
On June 10, 1953, his unit was manning Outpost Harry near Surang-ni, Korea, when the outpost came under heavy enemy attack. Mize organized defensive positions, rescued wounded soldiers, and engaged the enemy until reinforcements arrived about noon the next day. He was subsequently promoted to master sergeant and, on Sept. 24, 1954, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Outpost Harry.
After the war, Mize joined the Special Forces and completed three tours of duty in Vietnam. He retired as a colonel in 1981.
“Colonel Ola Lee Mize was a true patriot who embodied the American ideals of courage, selflessness, and honor,” said Tuberville (R-Auburn). “He devoted his entire life to putting country ahead of self, and showed true bravery in the face of danger time and again.
“Alabama is proud to call him one of our own, and it is an honor to pay tribute to his legacy by naming the Guntersville VA facility in his honor.”
Aderholt (R-Haleyville) is sponsoring the House version of the bill.
“I am proud to introduce to the House of Representatives legislation that honors an American hero from Marshall County, Alabama,” Aderholt said. “Col. Mize embodied the long-standing American principles of service to country, dedication to family, and commitment to hard work.”
The members sent a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to officially begin the naming process.
Sen. Katie Britt is also in support of honoring Mize.
“Showing tremendous courage and remarkable valor on the battlefield, Colonel Ola Lee Mize exemplified what it means to be a true American hero,” said Britt (R-Montgomery). “A Medal of Honor recipient that served in both Korea and Vietnam, he always went above and beyond the call of duty throughout his distinguished military career.
“Naming this VA facility in his honor will ensure that Alabama’s heroes today and those in the generations to come will continue to commemorate his service.”
It’s estimated 250,000 Alabamians served in the military during the Vietnam War era. Throughout all wars of the 20th century, Alabama’s men and women showcased their commitment to duty, honor, and country.
Stories of their bravery and sacrifice remain an essential part of the state’s proud history, including that of Mize.
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270