James Davis

James Davis
PHOTO: U.S. Army


Sometimes, an event can turn an ordinary American doing his or her duty into someone famous. Such is the case with Tennessee native James T. Davis.

On December 22, 1961, Davis – an American soldier – was killed in an ambush at a military airfield in Asia called Bien Hoa. Not too many people outside of Overton County noticed. But as the years went by, the United States increased its military presence in that Asian country (South Vietnam). Eventually America fought a war there called the Vietnam War. And for many years, Davis was considered to be the first American to die in that war.

The Vietnam War Memorial

The story does not end there, however. In recent years, the United State’s involvement in Vietnam has been studied more closely, and we’ve learned that a small number of Americans were killed in Vietnam in the late 1950s. Today Davis is no longer considered the very first American killed there. But he is no less a hero; and the people of Overton County will always consider him the first.

To learn more about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., click here.