Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fallen Soldier


Despite his easy smile, Sergeant Davis was an experienced combat veteran who’d seen plenty of fighting. Knowing the risks, he would volunteer for dangerous missions, his kit always ready. One of the most dangerous jobs in Mosul is to ride right-rear air-guard in a Stryker vehicle, and this was the position he preferred.

On 23 April, 2005, Sergeant Davis, Ace, was riding right-rear air-guard while his unit conducted combat operations in Mosul. Suddenly, a car packed with explosives gunned the gas and sped toward his Stryker. Ace began firing his weapon at the suicide bomber, attempting stop the bomb before it could reach the Stryker. We may never know if his bullets worked, but we know that Sergeant Davis continued firing until the end.

The car rammed the Stryker and exploded. Comrades raced to the scene and pulled Ace and his comrades out of the burning vehicle and rushed them to a military hospital. His buddies waited for hours until their commander sent them home.

That night, word came into the TOC that Sergeant Davis had died. The place went silent. Soldiers hearing the news quietly walked outside into the night. When they returned, the streaks running down along their cheeks. Sergeant Davis had the respect and love of the men who worked closest to him.

Perhaps, one day, Sergeant Anthony Jerome Davis' two girls will grow up, and look to the wall and see the silent photo of their father in his uniform, the same photo that his comrades touched, and wonder what their father was like. Maybe they will touch his Bronze Star, and wonder it means.

They should know that although he died a young man, their father had earned the respect of the men who fought with him. They should know he was as quick with a smile as he was on the trigger of that machine gun. Those photos will show them a man who cradled small animals, and who emanated a kind of joy that drew kids to his side. The photos show a man who used his skills and strength to protect others. His friends will never forget him. Their father came to a dangerous place, and he died fighting while trying to protect his friends.