By Sergeant Robert L. Buggs
“I did my job…what I had to do” were the words spoken by Sgt. Sammy Lee Davis, U.S. Army Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. Speaking at the Indiana University Northwest Library Conference Center during the Webb House’s 9th annual Celebration of Life Dinner, Davis was the keynote speaker.
Davis is the only living Medal of Honor recipient for the State of Indiana.
President Lyndon B. Johnson decorated Sgt. Davis with the highest and most prestigious military honor a soldier can receive in 1968, at a ceremony held a little over a year after the actual events in Cai Lai, Vietnam. It was this act of valor he related to almost 100 people that included veterans from all branches of service.
Sgt. Davis described how in 1967 while under attack by North Vietnamese soldiers, he was gravely wounded by a misfired shell that exploded near him. Despite being under attack by Vietnamese soldiers, wounded and weak from a massive loss of blood, he swam across a river in Vietnam in a makeshift raft and rescued three of his wounded comrades from a foxhole.
Sgt. Davis managed to bring them back across the river to safety. His rescue ordeal included Davis covering the bodies of his comrades with his body, playing dead while approximately 150 Viet Cong soldiers physically ran over their bodies.
Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince, who was among the guests, and the public were spellbound listening to Sgt. Davis’ heroic actions.
The program also addressed the plight of homeless veterans and how more emphasis should be focused on the families of veterans.
The program ended with the introduction of Herbert and Georgia Osborne, brother and sister of Corporal George Osborne from Gary, who sacrificed his life in Vietnam to save the lives of his brothers in combat by covering a live mortar round with his body before it exploded.
Webb House, Inc. Director Robert Farmer presented the complimentary dinner June 25th.
Participating in the program were Lt. Colonel Antonio Daggett (Ret.), who presented the invocation prayer; Post The Colors by the American Legion Post 180 from Highland, Indiana; Call to Order led by Indiana State AMVETS former State Commander Steve Grott, which closed the event for the evening.