On March 25, 2017 ... Oscar Davis Jr. was honored 72 years after
being wounded in The Battle of the Bulge during World War II ...
with the presentation of his Purple Heart medal by Lt. Col. Marcus
Wright in front of friends, family and Paratroopers from Company A,
1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
The citation read... "To all who shall see these presents,
greeting: This is to certify that The President of the United States
of America has awarded the Purple Heart established by Gen. George
Washington at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782 to Private Oscar L.
Davis Jr., United States Army. For wounds received in action 11
February, 1944 in the European theater of operations."
March 25, 2017 - Oscar L. Davis Jr. received the Purple Heart medal
in Fayetteville, N. C. Davis Jr. was wounded during the Battle of
the Bulge in 1944. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. John Moore)
“For Military Merit.” Those three words inscribed on the
reverse side of the Purple Heart medal alone don’t even
begin to tell the story of the men and women who earned it.
Many of the Service members authorized the award are no
longer with us. The Purple Heart is one of the most easily
recognizable symbols of wartime sacrifice.
Heart is a United States Military decoration awarded in the
name of the President of the United States to those wounded
or killed during any action against an enemy of the United
States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or
opposing armed forces.
Today, Davis, Jr. became the
latest recipient of the Purple Heart, one of the most
recognizable symbols of American wartime sacrifice. Davis
Jr. is a Paratrooper for life, having served as an
infantryman in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute
Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Today, the
battalion is currently assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat
Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Davis Jr. was born in
Cramerton, N.C. in 1924. Like many of his countrymen, he
volunteered to serve his country during the national buildup
for entry into World War II, enlisting in the U.S. Army on
March 24, 1943. After completing his initial recruit
training at Fort Leonardwood, Mo., he volunteered for the
82nd Abn. Div. Jump School, which was conducted in Chilton
Folait, England. During the fall of 1944, Davis Jr. joined
the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, then under the
command of Maj. Gen. James Gavin, in Liverpool, England and
awaited onward movement to Holland shortly after Operation
From Holland, Davis Jr. and his unit
traveled to France, deploying to the Ardennes Forest on Dec.
14, 1944. As the unit was conducting patrolling missions,
searching for German soldiers, Davis Jr. among others, was
wounded by shrapnel from an airburst artillery round during
Today, in front of a crowd of more than 50
people, Lt. Col. Marcus Wright, commander of 1st Bn., 505th
PIR, described the situation on the day Davis Jr. was
wounded. “On this particular day, he was selected to be the
RTO [radio telephone operator]. That was the first and only
day he was the RTO. During those times, as the enemy was
either pushing forward or retreating, American and allied
forces were often subjected to massive artillery barrages.
His unit, on that day was subjected to that while
patrolling. A large piece of shrapnel hit the radio that he
never carried and normally would never carry, knocking him
to the ground.”
Wright also noted that in addition
to being knocked down from the blast, Davis Jr. was also
pinned under a large tree which had fallen as a result of
the explosion. He was temporarily paralyzed as a result of
his injuries, and was evacuated to the 108th Hospital in
Paris, where he remained for three weeks. After recovering,
he returned to his unit and continued operations until the
occupation of Berlin. He and his company received a change
of mission order and redeployed to Fort Bragg on a ship
sailing back to the U.S. in Dec. 1945.
Davis Jr. was
eventually honorably discharged from the Army, and started
the next chapter of his life in the textile industry. He
earned a degree from the North Carolina State University,
having studied textiles. After spending decades working in a
variety of positions with Burlington Industries, Limestone
Manufacturing and JP Stevens, he eventually retired,
settling down with his wife Rachel Davis.
presentation and record keeping processes were inconsistent
during the time period Davis Jr. served in the U.S. Army.
Many Service members went years, if not decades, without
receiving the appropriate recognition for their service to
the United States.
It was not until 70 years later
in November 2015 that Davis Jr. was awarded the Bronze Star
Medal, the fourth-highest medal an American Soldier can
receive during combat operations. Then, today, 72 years
after being wounded, Davis Jr. was honored with the
presentation of his Purple Heart medal.
like to say that this has been some day. I couldn’t believe
all this was going to happen,” said Davis Jr. “I’d just like
to thank the lord that we’re all together and we continue to
work together and keep this country in the right shape from
here on out. And God bless us all.”
congratulations from his Family, friends and Paratroopers,
Davis Jr., demonstrated one of his favorite hobbies,
singing. As he boldly sang the lyrics to “God Bless
America,” teary-eyed observers joined him in the song as he
paid homage to the country he loves so much and almost gave
his life for.
In the 82nd Abn. Div., all Paratroopers
are considered “Paratroopers for Life.” The Division takes
great pride in recognizing the accomplishments of the
Paratroopers past and present, and ensuring t they and their
Families are part of the organization throughout their life.
By U.S. Army Capt. John Moore
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