Profiles Interviews

Sammy L. Davis, Medal of Honor Recipient

Malcolm Webb interviews Sammy Lee Davis, whose tradition of military service goes back to his grandfather who served in the Spanish-American War.

Sammy Lee Davis in blue shirt and navy blazer, wearing his Medal of Honor

Photo: Adam Schwartz/WFIU

Sammy L. Davis

There were twelve of us left standing that morning out of the forty-two that started. And the other eleven men are the ones that put me in for this Medal of Honor. So I have tried to always work proudly for my brothers.

In 1967, Sammy L. Davis was serving in the Army as a private first class with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam when his unit fell under heavy mortar attack. Ignoring warnings to take cover, he was wounded and helped rescue three wounded American soldiers. He was subsequently promoted to sergeant and awarded the Medal of Honor.

  • Ellen Alley

    It is a shame to continue to honor Davis as a hero when he has embellished the actions of Nov 18 1968 to such an extent. He dishonors the 9th infantry,5th-60th Battalion who was also there that night and the men who also were heros. Davis’s story is 99% a lie.

  • Malcolm Webb

    That is a stunning accusation. In researching this interview, I came across numerous media stories, including national network television, that appear to corroborate quite substantially Sgt. Davis’s story as recounted on WFIU Profiles. The citation for the Medal of Honor can be downloaded from numerous locations including the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.

    On the other hand, when I attempted to Google the 9th infantry,5th-60th Battalion mentioned by Ms Alley, I came up with too many different military groups to identify any specific connection to the accusations, and when using quotes around the search term “9th infantry,5th-60th Battalion” I come up with nothing.

    Given the self-effacing manner Sgt. Davis uses when telling a story of incredible strength and perseverance, it is difficult not to take offense at both the substance of the accusation and the tone. However, since Sgt. Davis mentioned several of his colleagues present, by name, that fateful night in November 1967, I am confident that he would want the stories of other heroes, particularly any who may have been overlooked in the media, brought to light as well. –Malcolm Webb

  • Lee Alley

    My name is Lee Alley 1st Lt. of the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry division I was there with my recon Platoon the night of Nov 17, and morning of Nov 18, 1967 at Fire Base Cudgell. Sammy Davis and one other artillery man went across the river with me to rescue the four stranded men who were from my platoon. Sammy was a very brave soldier, but his exaggerations have become too much to bear. Rather than to go into great lengths here, I would very much like to visit with Mr. Webb one on one to separate fact from fiction. I emailed the public radio site so Mr Webb can access my email from there. Also, please see the following site: http://5thbattalion.tripod.com/DSC.html

  • Malcolm Webb

    I have your email from WFIU and will contact you directly. –Malcolm Webb

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