Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Profiles Sammy L. Davis, MOH - July 11th, 2004
Posted on 07/11/2004 12:01:05 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
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Medal of Honor Recipient, Vietnam
U.S. Army Battery C, 2nd Battalion,
4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division
By Peter Collier
Sammy Davis took some ribbing in the Army because he shared a name with the famous entertainer. Much later, long after his military days were over, he would again gain some acclaim among his old comrades, this time as the "real" Forrest Gump.
Davis enlisted in the Army directly out of high school in 1965. Volunteering for the artillery because his father had been an artilleryman in World War II, he was assigned to the 4th Artillery. Soon after completing training, he asked to be sent to Vietnam.
Early on November 18, 1967, his unit of eleven guns and forty-two men was helicoptered into an area west of Cai Lay to set up a forward fire-support base-Firebase Cudgel-for American infantrymen operating in the area. Shortly after midnight the next morning, Private First Class Davis's Battery C came under heavy mortar attack. Almost simultaneously, an estimated fifteen hundred Vietcong soldiers launched an intense ground assault, failing to overrun the Americans only because a river separated the two forces.
Davis's squad was operating a 105 mm howitzer that fired eighteen thousand beehive darts in each shell. When he saw how close the enemy had come, Davis took over a machine gun and provided covering fire for his gun crew. But an enemy recoilless rifle round scored a direct hit on the howitzer, knocking the crew from the weapon and blowing Davis sideways into a foxhole. Convinced that the heavily outnumbered Americans couldn't survive the attack, he decided to fire off at least one round from the damaged artillery piece before being overrun.
He struggled to his feet, rammed a shell into the gun, and fired point-blank at the Vietcong who were advancing five deep directly in front of the weapon; the beehive round cut them down. An enemy mortar round exploded nearby, knocking Davis to the ground, but he got up and kept firing the howitzer. When there were no more rounds left, he fired a white phosphorus shell, and then the last round he had- a "propaganda shell" filled with leaflets.
At this point, he heard yelling from the other side of the river and realized that GIs had been cut off there. Despite the fact that he didn't know how to swim, he got in the water and paddled across on an air mattress from the American camp; other GIs followed him. Scrambling up the bank, he found three wounded soldiers, one of them suffering from a head wound that looked fatal.
He gave them all morphine and provided covering fire as another GI helped the most gravely wounded soldier across the river, then pulled the other two through the water on the air mattress to the fire base. He eventually made his way to an American howitzer crew and resumed the fight. Sometime before dawn, he was seriously wounded in the back and buttocks by friendly fire.
While he was in the hospital, Davis heard that he was to be sent home. He petitioned General William Westmoreland to be allowed to stay with his unit. Permission was granted, although Davis was still so hobbled by his wounds that he was taken off the line and made a cook.
On November 19, 1968, exactly one year and one day after the nightlong firefight at Cai Lay, Davis received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson. Years later, footage of LBJ putting the medal around Davis's neck appeared in the movie Forrest Gump (with Tom Hanks's head substituted for Davis's), and Gump's fictional Medal of Honor citation was loosely based on Davis's real one.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Sammy L Davis and hearing him speak on a few occasions. Very interesting man and a good speaker.
Thanks Sam, it was you mentioning him that led me to profile him.
You're welcome, Snippy. That's what partners are for. ;-)
Good night partner.
To all our military men and women, past and present, and to our allies who stand with us,
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole.
Greetings, Benedections, Hallucinations and Salavations
It is a wonderfull Sunday Morning, a fine day lads and lassies for a little Bobcat work and scaffold building.
Breakfast looks mighty fine there Gail, that and a cup of the Mayors coffee and I will be able to operate at warp 3 all day.
Read: Matthew 27:27-35
[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree. 1 Peter 2:24
Bible In One Year: Psalms 1-3; Acts 17:1-15
The corkscrew willow tree stood vigil over our backyard for more than 20 years. It shaded all four of our children as they played in the yard, and it provided shelter for the neighborhood squirrels. But when springtime came and the tree didnt awaken from its winter slumber, it was time to bring it down.
Every day for a week I worked on that tree first to fell it and then to chop two decades of growth into manageable pieces. It gave me a lot of time to think about trees.
I thought about the first tree the one on which hung the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve just couldnt resist (Genesis 3:6). God used that tree to test their loyalty and trust. Then theres the tree in Psalm 1 that reminds us of the fruitfulness of godly living. And in Proverbs 3:18, wisdom is personified as a tree of life.
But it is a transplanted tree that is most important the crude cross of Calvary that was hewn from a sturdy tree. There our Savior hung between heaven and earth to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders. It stands above all trees as a symbol of love, sacrifice, and salvation.
At Calvary, Gods only Son suffered a horrible death on a cross. Thats the tree of life for us. Dave Branon
The cross of Christ reveals mans sin at its worst and Gods love at its best.
Good thread about a good man, snippy. I hope you realize the retraint I am exercizing by not making a joke about Sammy Davis and Forrest Gump.
Good morning, radu. Lovely graphic, thank you.
On This Day In History
Birthdates which occurred on July 11:
1274 Robert the Bruce Scotland, King (1328-1329)
1558 Robert Greene Elizabethan dramatist (Friar Bacon)
1754 Thomas Bowdler famous prude, bowdlerized Shakespeare
1767 John Quincy Adams Braintree, Mass, 6th Pres (D) (1825-1829)
1825 Edward Henry Hobson, Brig General (Union volunteers), died in 1901
1838 John Wanamaker merchant (Wanamakers Dept Store)
1841 William Paul Roberts, Brig General (Confederate Army), died in 1910
1897 - Blind Lemon Jefferson,Blues musician
1899 E.B. White writer (Charlotte's Web, Elements of Style)
1915 Colin Purdie Kelly US, 1st US air hero during WW II
1915 Yul Brynner(Taidje Khan) Sakhalin Is Japan, actor (King & I)
1922 Gene Evans Hollbrook Az, actor (My Friend Flicka, Matt Helm, Alamo)
1931 Tab Hunter actor (Damn Yankees, Lust in the Dust, Battle Cry)
1931 Thurston Harris Indianapolis, vocalist (Little Bitty Pretty One)
1945 Deborah Harry singer (Blondie) actress (Videodrome, Hairspray)
1947 Jeff Hanna rock vocalist (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-Mr Bojangles)
1950 Bonnie Pointer singer (Pointer Sisters)
1953 Leon Spinks US, heavyweight boxing champ (1978, Olympic-gold-1976)
1987 Matej Gaspar, Yugoslavia, 5,000,000,000th person (UN)
"The silver Star and two Purple Hearts"
Did you know that John Kerrey got a Bronze Star a Silver Star AND THREE Purple Hearts! He's my HEro!
Good Morning Radu. You drying out back there yet?
Morning E.G.C. We had a beautiful sunset last night and a beautiful sunrise this morning. Looks like it'll be a good day.