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Sammy Davis working on his memoirs
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Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis is in the process of writing his memoirs with the help of Caroline Lambert.

Manteca’s most decorated soldier grew up in French Camp where he fondly remembers playing in canals during the summer to cool off.

At Manteca High, he played left tackle on the football team and was on the dive team.

It was also at Manteca High where he was influenced by several teachers including Bill Forbes.

“(Forbes) taught me to stand up for what I thought was right in my heart,” Davis said in 2007 during a return visit to Manteca.

Davis attended Manteca High through his junior year. After that, his family moved to Indiana. He enlisted in the Army in Indianapolis.

Davis’ decision to enlist in the military at the height of the Vietnam War was a no-brainer for him.

“It was my time to serve,” Davis said.

His father, Robert Davis, served in World War II. Brother Hubert “Buddy” Davis served in the Korean War and brother Darrell Davis served in the Vietnam War. His grandfather also served in the Spanish-American War.

Davis had been a Sea Scout in Stockton. Because of that, when he went to the recruitment center, his intent was to join the Marines.

“This is the truth,” Davis said years ago as he started to explain why he joined the Army, “I don’t like standing in lines. The line to join the Army was shorter, so I got in that line and joined the Army.”

The defining moment of Davis’ life took place nearly 47 years ago in November 1967 west of Cai Lay in the Republic of Vietnam.

Davis was a 21-year-old sergeant with the U.S. Army, Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division.

A number of his seriously wounded comrades were hollering out for help across a deep Vietnam river as 1,500 enemy troops were advancing on 90 Americans. Davis didn’t worry about the fact he was wounded so he couldn’t swim or that heavy incoming fire threatened to end his life at any second.

Davis helped fire rounds back at the enemy located 25 meters away when mortars hit American artillery positions and gravely injured three of his comrades. Between valiant efforts to keep the enemy from advancing, Davis grabbed an air mattress and struck out across the river to rescue his wounded comrades one by one. Each time he reached the far shore Davis stood up and opened fire on the enemy to prevent them from advancing and finishing off the three soldiers.

Though suffering from critical wounds, Davis’ heroics continued after he pulled the last man back across the river. He refused medical attention and instead joined another howitzer crew that fired at the large Viet Cong force until it broke contact and fled.