Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Stories of Sacrifice
Vietnam War - U.S. Army
Sammy Lee Davis
- Rank: Private First Class (Highest Rank: Sergeant First Class)
- Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
Battery C, 2d Battalion, 4th Artillery,
9th Infantry Division
- Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
- Medal of Honor Action Date: November 18, 1967
- Medal of Honor Action Place: Firebase Cudgil, west of Cai Lay, Republic of Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Davis (then Pfc.) distinguished himself during the early morning hours while serving as a cannoneer with Battery C, at a remote fire support base. At approximately 0200 hours the fire support base was under heavy enemy mortar attack. Simultaneously, an estimated reinforced Viet Cong battalion launched a fierce ground assault upon the fire support base. The attacking enemy drove to within 25 meters of the friendly positions. Only a river separated the Viet Cong from the fire support base. Detecting a nearby enemy position, Sgt. Davis seized a machine gun and provided covering fire for his gun crew, as they attempted to bring direct artillery fire on the enemy. Despite his efforts, an enemy recoilless-rifle round scored a direct hit upon the artillery piece. The resultant blast hurled the gun crew from their weapon and blew Sgt. Davis into a foxhole. He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warnings to seek cover, Sgt. Davis rammed a shell into the gun. Disregarding a withering hail of enemy fire directed against his position, he aimed and fired the howitzer which rolled backward, knocking Sgt. Davis violently to the ground. Undaunted, he returned to the weapon to fire again when an enemy mortar round exploded within 20 meters of his position, injuring him painfully. Nevertheless, Sgt. Davis loaded the artillery piece, aimed, and fired. Again he was knocked down by the recoil. In complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Davis loaded and fired three more shells into the enemy. Disregarding his extensive injuries and his inability to swim, Sgt. Davis picked up an air mattress and struck out across the deep river to rescue three wounded comrades on the far side. Upon reaching the three wounded men, he stood upright and fired into the dense vegetation to prevent the Viet Cong from advancing. While the most seriously wounded soldier was helped across the river, Sgt. Davis protected the two remaining casualties until he could pull them across the river to the fire support base. Though suffering from painful wounds, he refused medical attention, joining another howitzer crew which fired at the large Viet Cong force until it broke contact and fled. Sgt. Davis' extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life, is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
- Accredited to: Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana
- Awarded Posthumously: No
- Presentation Date & Details: November 19, 1968
The White House, presented by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson
- Born: November 1, 1946, Dayton, Montgomery County, OH, United States
Hero vs. Idol
Students will compare and contrast the terms hero and idol and identify the characteristics of a hero.
War in Social Context
Students will evaluate the mood of a country at war, compare and contrast the views of three individuals who had different experiences at war and circumstances as they returned home, and more.