Mr. Sammy L. Davis

2022

Sammy L. Davis was born on 1 November, 1946, in Dayton, OH. Sammy enlisted in the Army in 1965. In 1967, Davis deployed to South Vietnam with Battery C, 2nd BN, 4th Artillery Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. 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, 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 Davis into a foxhole. He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warnings to seek cover, he 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 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, he loaded and fired three more shells into the enemy. Disregarding his extensive injuries and his inability to swim, he 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, 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. Davis’s military decorations and awards include a Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Medal of Honor. Davis continues to volunteer and travel to speaking engagements for both military and civilian organizations spreading a message of hope and resilience.  

Davis was presented the Medal of Honor in 1967 for his actions in Vietnam.

Mr. Sammy Davis was inducted into the US Field Artillery Hall of Fame in 2022.