Vietnam veteran, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis honored with Indiana’s highest award
BY FOX59 WEB
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Gov. Eric Holcomb awarded Indiana’s highest honor Monday to a Vietnam veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Sammy L. Davis of Freedom received the 2018 Sachem Award during a ceremony at the Indiana War Memorial.
Davis was near the South Vietnamese city of Cai Lay in 1967 when his unit came under fire. He was wounded, but took over a burning artillery piece and fired off several rounds at the Viet Cong. He then used an air mattress to cross a river and rescue wounded before joining another unit with a howitzer to continue fighting.
Davis broke his back, but continued serving in the Army until 1984. His actions inspired those of the lead character in Forrest Gump.
“You hear what he did on that day in 1967, how with a body full of shrapnel, he ignored the risk to his own life to slow the enemy advance and save three comrades,” Holcomb said during the ceremony.
Holcomb said Davis dedicated his life after Vietnam to raise alarms about the dangers of Agent Orange and the problems veterans exposed to the chemical faced.
Davis said it was an “honor” to receive the award. During his speech Monday, he said we must “pass on our dreams of a greater America to our children.”
“All of us must take responsibility for our actions and the actions of our government. Citizenship in the United States of America is a privilege that can only be safeguarded by each of us taking an active role in our nation,” Davis said.
The 71-year-old joins a distinguished group of Sachem winners, including Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor and late Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh.
Davis has also been awarded a Silver Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He was among veterans who appeared at the coin toss at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
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