Gov. Holcomb to honor Hoosier Vietnam hero with state’s highest award

Sammy Davis' Medal of Honor

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Eric Holcomb is awarding Indiana’s highest honor to a Vietnam veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Sammy L. Davis of Freedom will receive the 2018 Sachem Award during a ceremony in March.

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.

Sammy L. Davis

“Sammy’s story of service, courage and sacrifice for our nation and freedom is a true inspiration for all Americans,” Holcomb said. “In sharing his exceptional personal story, Sammy spreads an important and timeless message that grit and perseverance can help all of us overcome even the most challenging circumstances.”

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.