High school honors Medal of Honor recipient


High school honors Medal of Honor recipient

From the Beacon News
AURORA — War was hell for Pfc. Sammy Lee Davis.

On Nov. 18, 1967, the cannoneer held a Viet Cong attack force at bay by operating a damaged howitzer while under heavy fire, then crossed a river into enemy territory twice to rescue wounded U.S. soldiers – all after he’d suffered a broken back, several gunshot wounds and at least 30 “beehive” dart wounds.

On Tuesday, the Medal of Honor recipient told West Aurora High School students that, even as he battled pain and exhaustion to keep fighting that day, he fought as an act of love.

“It seems strange to say that I learned about love from being in Vietnam,” Davis said. “But I didn’t go to war to kill people. I went because I loved my daddy and I wanted to make him proud of me. I went because I loved my grandpas, and because I loved my country. Once we were there, the reason we all fought so hard is that we discovered that we loved each other. We were all we had out there, so we became brothers.”

The Army veteran was stationed at Firebase Cudgil near Cay Lai, on the front line with the Viet Cong encamped just across a river. Though he had seen action, it was nothing compared to what he went through in his last battle. During a nighttime mortar attack, the Viet Cong hit his howitzer with a rocket, which also knocked him unconscious and flung him backward into a foxhole.

“When I started to wake up, I saw all these red lights in the sky and I thought that it looked just like Christmas,” Davis told his West High audience. “Then my hearing returned, the smoke started clearing from my brain and I realized those lights were tracer rounds.”

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