The Tompkins Medal Awarded to Sammy Lee Davis, 33° : : A New Peace and Freedom Award is Named in Davis' Honor

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At the Indiana Council of Deliberation (COD) this weekend, the life and service of Illustrious Brother Sammy Lee Davis, 33°, was celebrated as he was feted by the Scottish Rite with a major award and a second award was named in his honor.

The Daniel Tompkins Medal Awarded to Sammy Lee Davis, 33°

The Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, NMJ conferred the The Daniel Tompkins Medal on Brother Davis for outstanding and exemplary service to his country and the Masonic fraternity at large. The Tompkins Medal allows the Scottish Rite to honor distinguished contributions not often witnessed by the general membership. Brother Davis is only the 12th recipient of the Tompkins Medal joining a select group of recipients that includes President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32°, and D-Day hero Leonard "Bud" Lomell, 32°.

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Sammy Lee Davis Peace & Freedom Award Established

Also at the COD, Sovereign Grand Commander David A. Glattly announced the creation of the Sammy Lee Davis Peace & Freedom Award. It is an honor that each Valley in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction can award to all Scottish Rite veterans with an honorable discharge. Said Commander Glattly, "It is my great privilege to announce the creation of the Sammy Lee Davis Peace & Freedom Award. As you know, one of the Scottish Rite core values is service to country. It is highly fitting for the NMJ to have a formal way to recognize our veteran Brothers who bravely and faithfully upheld their duty to our nation. Men like Brother Davis served in our armed forces in the pursuit of peace and the hope of freedom. It is an honor for all of us — our entire Scottish Rite Brotherhood — to name this award after Sammy Lee Davis."

Brother Davis served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military citation for valor. The eponymous award will be managed at the Valley level, and will be given to member veterans at a public Valley events. All veteran members are encouraged to go to the member center on the website and update the record of their military service, if they have not done so already.

Sammy Lee Davis, 33°, Vietnam, 1967

Sammy Lee Davis, 33°, was sent to South Vietnam as a private first class, and was assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. On November 18, 1967, his unit at Firebase Cudgel west of Cai Lay, fell under machine gun fire and heavy mortar attack by an estimated three companies of Vietcong from the 261st Viet Cong Main Force Battalion who swarmed the area from the south and west. Upon detecting an enemy position, Davis manned a machine gun to give his comrades covering fire so they could fire artillery in response. Davis was wounded, but ignored warnings to take cover taking over the unit's burning howitzer and firing several shells himself. He also disregarded his inability to swim due to a broken back, and crossed a river on an air mattress to help rescue three wounded American soldiers. He ultimately found his way to another howitzer site to continue fighting the NVA attack until they fled. The battle lasted two hours.

Medal of Honor Awarded

Davis was subsequently promoted to Sergeant and received the Medal of Honor the following year from President Lyndon B. Johnson. In his speech, President Johnson said Davis earned the Medal of Honor, "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty....Sgt. Davis's extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army." After he was presented the medal at the White house ceremony, Davis played "Oh Shenandoah" on his harmonica in memory of the men he served with in Vietnam.

Top Photo: Sovereign Grand Commander David A. Glattly Awards Sammy Lee Davis the Danial Tompkins Award.

Bottom Photo: the Sammy Lee Davis Peace & Freedom Award is Announced.

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