Support our mission
 
Army 1st Lt. Dwight Mears, who was injured Sunday when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq, touches the Medal of Honor worn by Sammy Davis, who earned the medal in 1967 for his actions in Vietnam. Davis and two other Medal of Honor recipients visited wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Tuesday.
Army 1st Lt. Dwight Mears, who was injured Sunday when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq, touches the Medal of Honor worn by Sammy Davis, who earned the medal in 1967 for his actions in Vietnam. Davis and two other Medal of Honor recipients visited wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Tuesday. (Marni McEntee / S&S)

LANDSTUHL, Germany — Sammy Davis leaned over 1st Lt. Dwight Mears, who lay nearly motionless in his Army hospital bed, and asked him to hold onto the Medal of Honor draped around his neck.

Mears did, and Davis said: “This medal honors everyone in uniform. I’m only the caretaker.”

Mears, 25, suffered serious back injuries when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed Sunday while he was providing security for ground troops near Taji, Iraq.

“I’m honored to have met them,” Mears, of Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, said after Davis, who fought in Vietnam, left his bedside at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Davis, Rodolfo “Rudy” Hernandez, 73, and Ronald Rosser, 75, who both earned the Medal of Honor for actions in Korea, visited several other soldiers and civilians wounded in the ongoing fighting in Iraq.

Davis, 57, of Flat Rock, Ill., said he considers such visits essential to show soldiers, whom he calls “his kids,” that others recognize the importance of what they do.

“It makes you proud,” he said of the visit. “It breaks your heart, but it makes you proud.”

Davis was awarded the medal for his actions on Nov. 18, 1967, west of Cai Lay, Vietnam.

Then a private first class with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, Davis helped repel an enemy attack at a remote fire support base, continuing to fire even after he had been shot several times.

He later crossed a river — though he couldn’t swim — to rescue three of his wounded comrades. Davis, too, injured his back and suffered several other serious wounds in the attack.

On Tuesday, he mentioned that to Jerry Edwards, 35, of Florala, Ala. Edwards, a civilian contractor who repairs Army helicopters, was injured in a mortar attack at a hangar in Mosul.

His right leg was held together with several steel rods.

“My legs are all welded together with wire and steel plates but I can still dance,” Davis told Edwards. “It hurts like a bitch, but I can still dance.”

Edwards was cheered by the visit.

“It was inspiring,” he said. “I appreciate it. “It means a lot for them to take the time to see people in the hospital.”

The three Medal of Honor recipients continued their visit to soldiers in Mannheim on Tuesday.

Their visit, sponsored by U.S. European Command, is part of the Army’s 229th birthday celebration in the theater.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up