The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. contains the names of 58,318 Americans who gave their lives in service to the United States during the Vietnam War. Panel W1, line 42 of the Memorial bears the name of GMC student Paul Henderson Lawing, Jr. who loved dogs and was known around his hometown for his basketball skills.
On 14 June 1972, Sergeant Lawing, or “Skip” as he was known by friends and family, observed Viet Cong forces advancing on his hilltop. He immediately brought this enemy force under mortar fire and requested assistance. When the reaction force arrived and encountered resistance, Sergeant Lawing unhesitatingly moved through intense enemy small arms and machine gun fire in order to direct the movements of the reaction force. “Once again with complete disregard for his own safety he moved through the bullet swept area in order to engage this flanking element.”
His decisive and heroic actions that day saved numerous lives. Unfortunately, Sergeant Lawing, who acted with selfless disregard for his own safety, was killed by enemy fire.
He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry in action.”
Memorial Day exists for Soldiers like him—patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
Where would America be without men and women like Skip? Where would we be without those men and women who served as if America’s future and the freedom of her people depended upon them alone? Without the courage, dedication, and honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our country throughout the world, we would be lost. GMC is proud of Skip’s service, and we will never forget his sacrifice. This Memorial Day, we remember Sergeant Lawing and all of our nation’s fallen heroes.