Friday, November 7, 2008

Veterans Day: Dotson Davis

The article pictured to the left appeared in the Douglas County Sentinel on July 17, 2005 to honor FBCLS member Dotson Davis. The article states:

Joseph Dotson Davis is not one to talk about his days in the army fighting in World War II; for 60 years his stories of the war were kept from everyone including his family. But after years of urgent requests Davis sat down last year to write his story. And, on Father’s Day, he was honored by receiving the medals he had earned in the war. “I remember not be scared entering the military March 2, 1943 at Fort McClellan, Alabama because it was something I had to do,” he said.

In 1944, Davis fought in the Battle of the Bulge when he, along with other allied soldiers were captured by the Germans.

“My fellow troops in the 28th Infantry Reconnaissance and I were in a Belguim hotel and could see the Germans coming to get us in a whole bunch of tanks, we tried to run but they captured or killed the 28 troops,” he said.

He was held prisoner in the M. Stammlager XIIA war camp for three and a half months and lost 40 pounds from malnutrition.

“I was a prisoner of war for three and a half months and only fed potato soup and slept in a warehouse-like building on straw covered floors with body lice all around us,” he said.

Then one day while Davis was in a box cart being transported by the Germans to another camp, the train came to an abrupt halt while in a mountain tunnel.

“I knew immedately we were being rescued. We were liberated by an American Tank Division, after the bombed the train track crippling the German transportation system,” he said.

After being rescued Davis was immediately sent to the hospital to recover from malnutrition and frost bite.

“I had frost bitten toes, blue under some nails and lost nails on my toes,” he said. Now my feet ache after I have walked a short distance or stand for a long period of time.”

Davis remained in the Army a few more months before being dishonorably discharged in 1946.

After returning home without any military medals, Davis made a decision to remain mum about his Army adventures after marrying his wife Ruth and raising his two daughters, Beverly Reagin of Villa Rica and Marilyn Freeman of Douglasville.

“I was not proud to talk about it, it was an awful time,” he said.

Even now, Davis doesn’t like to go into detail about fighting in the war.

“If people ask questions, I will tell them but I normally don’t talk about it,” he said.

But after years of silence, Davis decided to tell his story within the last year at the urging of his nephew, Robert Davis, of Melbourne, Florida.

“He asked me to tell him the details of the war for several years now, so I finally decided to do it,” he said.

In May, the Davis family took a trip to Washington D.C. to see the World War II memorial. While there, his daughter Beverly inquired about obtaining her father’s medals from the war.

And finally after 60 years, Davis received more than six medals from the U.S. Army including the U.S. Purple Heart and a Prisoner of War medal. Ron Young, a former POW captured by the Iraq soldiers, made a special visit to the Davis home to present the medals.

“My daughter Beverly asked him to come to our families’ Father’s Day cookout, and Ron surprised me with the plaque,” he said.

“I was surprised to see Ron, and I did not know I had so many medals and pins,” he said.

Young made himself at home at the Davis’ home that day enjoying hamburgers and hotdogs and taking pictures with the family.

Ron told me that when he was a POW, the Iraqis only fed him burned rice, so when he came into the kitchen to eat I said, “You want some rice?” Ron laughed and said, “I am staying far away from the rice,” laughed Davis.

You can click on the newspaper articles to enlarge them....

If you would like to see more posts regarding the veterans at FBCLS follow the link
here for a complete listing.