Once, in a high school English class, he was given the assignment of writing an autobiography in which he stated,
‘My ambitions are unlimited, my fate unknown.’ So wrote James ‘Tom’ Davis of Livingston, Tennessee, in a high-school autobiography project. His ambitions turned out to be unrealised, his fate well known.
On 23 December 1961, Davis became ‘the first American to fall in defence of our freedom in Vietnam’, as US president Lyndon Johnson later described him. The truck in which he was travelling on an enemy radio transmission finding mission near the Tan Son Nhut Air Base, outside Saigon, was ambushed by the Viet Cong. Davis died in the ensuing fire fight.
Davis was the first combat fatality among the 58,000 American soldiers who were eventually to die in Vietnam. Up to three million Vietnamese also died before the end of the war.
#230 Struggles for Truth ● The Arab Spring 10 years on ● The origins and legacies of US conspiracy theories ● The limits of scientific evidence in climate activism ● Student struggles around the world ● The political power of branding ● Celebrating Marcus Rashford ● ‘Cancelling’ Simon Hedges ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
The uprisings against police brutality that swept across Nigeria must be contextualised within the country’s colonial history, argues Kehinde Alonge
Outside the media fanfare surrounding the recent wave of university-based militancy, one community's fight against developers goes on. Robert Firth reports
Conspiracy theories aren’t the preserve of a minority – they lie at the heart of US politics, argues Thomas Konda
From climate change to the perils of the information era, the collection powerfully explores the struggles facing contemporary teenagers, writes Jordana Belaiche
Hilary Wainwright remembers friend and mentor to many, Leo Panitch, who died on December 19, 2020
Very sensible columnist Simon Hedges shares his take on the 2020 phenomena of people believing that 'cancel culture' is really a thing