Updated: Friday, 11 Nov 2011, 7:10 PM EST
Published : Friday, 11 Nov 2011, 7:08 PM EST
OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Sammy Lee Davis from Owen County has quite a story to tell and there is no better time to tell it than on Veterans Day.
Our story begins in 1965 when Sammy enlisted in the Army and was shipped off to fight in Vietnam.
But as you're about to see, Sammy's story was to become a story of courage, heroism and unmistakable American patriotism.
It’s November 18, 1967.
Sammy Lee and 41 fellow soldiers are airlifted to a tiny island in the Mekong Delta. Their assignment was to provide artillery protection for approaching infantry.
For several hours all was quiet but then at 2 a.m., the silence broke.
About 1,500 Viet Cong began an all out attack on our 42 GIs.
What happened in the next few hours is best told by the man who lived it, Sammy Lee Davis.
“When I fired, they fired at my muzzle blast. It blew me half in a half out of my fox hole. When I [rose] up, there was 150 to 200 of the enemy coming across right across from my position.”
“When they would come up out of the river I would do my job as a soldier. I saw Gwendale Holloway, one of my brothers, standing on the other side of the river waving his boonie hat and saying, ‘Don't shoot! I’m a GI.’ I said, ‘Well, I gotta go get him.’”
“I'd been shot [in the] right thigh with an AK 47. I had 30 some beehive rounds from my thigh up, including my fourth lumbar. My back was broken and my rib crushed on the right side.”
“I crawled off into the canal [and] made my way across. There was a foxhole and instead of one man being in it there were three men in it. I knew I was gonna have to carry all three of my brothers at one time so I asked the man above to give me strength to carry all three of my brothers.”
“I crawled back and that's where I ran into Sergeant Gant. He had a big pile of pink foam on his chest. I took his shirt off and cleaned it up as much as I could.”
By daybreak, Sammy Lee Davis had saved the lives of at least four fellow soldiers. Though badly injured himself, he had refused to quit; refused to die at the hands of the enemy.
And for his bravery, Sammy Lee Davis was invited to the White House and received the Medal of Honor from President Johnson.
As for Sammy, he holds other honors of that night just as dear. Like the memory of fellow soldier Jim Dyster who was believed dead that night but Sammy would not leave his brother behind.
“[He’s] alive and well today living in Salina, Kansas. I got to hold Jim Dysters' grandbabies. [It was an] awesome, awesome feeling. Knowing that if I hadn’t done my job, that little baby would not be here.
Sammy says to this day he still has nightmares of that night in Vietnam. A night filled with horror, a night when a young soldier became an American hero.
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