PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (2/28/2012) – U.S. Army Sgt.
Richard Davies wanted to be soldier, specifically, an infantry
sniper, since he was 2 years old. It was a dream that stuck with him
through the years as he grew up up in Longview, Wash.
U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Davies, a medic for Company C, 122nd Aviation
Support Battalion, Task Force Blackhawk, and a native of Longview,
Wash., sits on the bumper of one of the emergency vehicles used by
the Forward Operating Base Sharana medical treatment facility, March
20, 2012. Photo by Army Sgt. Ken Scar
As fate would have it, when he was 19, the U.S. Army came calling –
for his younger brother, Spencer.
“Richard was at home, being
a 19-year-old, doing nothing,” said his mom, Tammy Davies. “[An Army
recruiter] called for our other son, Spencer. My husband had
answered the phone and said, Spencer isn't here right now do you
want to talk to Richard?”
That serendipitous phone call was
just the push he needed to jump into the life he'd always wanted.
Although they were proud of his decision to join the military,
his parents pleaded with him not to go in as an infantry grunt.
“My parents talked me out of it at the last second. I was
getting ready to join the infantry and they said, ‘you're going to
go to Iraq and get shot and come back with no education,'” said
Davies. “So I fought to become a medic. I went to the recruiter's
office and they said they didn't have a slot for that – but they had
plenty of infantry, tanker and forward observer positions. I said,
‘okay just take me home then.'”
He grins mischievously as he
tells the story, “Five minutes later they said, ‘fine we have your
Being an Amy medic is not exactly a job that keeps a
soldier out of the line of fire. As a member of Company C, 122nd
Aviation Support Battalion, Task Force Blackhawk, Davies has seen
the worst of war more often than most front-line infantrymen. Fit
and chipper as a star high school quarterback, Davies has a natural
exuberance that serves him well in the field.
“I'm out with somebody else every month,” he said. “Doing
supply routes, route clearances, finding IED's, helping to
revamp aid stations at the little [combat outposts] I go to,
working in combat support hospitals. Out where I've been
going, we get mortared on almost all the missions. It gets
Nine months into his deployment in
support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he's seen his share
of wounded troops, both U.S. and Afghan.
treated a lot of [Afghan] counterparts for combat
casualties,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Lucas White, of
Coffeyville, Kan., non-commissioned officer in charge of the
Sharana medical treatment facility. “You have to be
autonomous out here, and be able to make quick and competent
decisions. Sgt. Davies performs very, very well.”
“The first time you see a casualty, it's kind of rough,”
explained Davies, “But I've been doing it for two years. I
have no feeling towards the [blood and guts] any more. The
soldiers are strong dudes. They're out there doing their job
and get hit – it sucks. The more I can do for them the
“He's always willing to volunteer for the
most arduous missions,” said White. “He's like a mountain
man. Back home he'd hike up into the mountains of Washington
and stay there for days at a time. He's a hard charger. I
hope more NCO's like him come into the Army.”
mom, I really wasn't worried [when he joined the Army],”
said Mrs. Davies. “He has always been very independent. He
once took off for three months and hitchhiked down to
Montana, just to do it, and he was fine.”
takes great pride in his profession, she added. “Whenever he
puts his uniforms on, his regular one or his Class A's, they
have to be perfect before he'll go out.”
deployment to Iraq and three quarters of the current one
behind him, his co-workers marvel at how Davies perpetuates
a positive attitude despite the unavoidably heart-wrenching
nature of his job.
“He's a good morale-booster,” said
Spc. Eusebio Cordero, who hails from Bradley Beach, N.J.,
and is the patient administrator for the Sharana MTF.
“Whenever he comes in it's like ‘Awesome, Sgt. Davies is
“He's totally professional. He always has a
smile on his face – even when he's angry. It's weird,” he
“He does tend to laugh a lot,”
confirmed his mom. “He's always been that kind of person.”
“The best part of the job is saving lives,” said Davies.
“When you do that kind of stuff you know you've [justified]
your existence. You feel like you're doing something way
He might get such a thrill from
saving lives because he has such a knack for it.
While he's been part of a team of medics that has treated
casualties who did not pull through, he said he's never lost
a patient that he's had to work on alone.
injury I've treated is a guy who got hit by an IED – an
[Afghan National Army] guy who was on a walking patrol,” he
said. “He took shrapnel through both his legs, and in his
face. He had brain damage. His eyes were staring off in
different directions, but I patched him up as best as I
could and a few minutes later he got pupil response. He was
talking in about 20 minutes.”
“He's a great medic.
He's the guy to go to when you need something done,” said
For Davies, his time as an Army medic will
be defined by the soldiers he's saved, and also by making
his four-year-old daughter, Delilah, proud.
her to know everything about me – so she doesn't think I'm
just making up stuff,” said Davies. “People think we come
over here and don't do anything, but we're still getting
blown up and shot at.”
“He's a good father,” said
Cordero. “He talks about [Delilah] a lot. If she could know
one thing about her dad, I would tell her he saves lives –
he puts the Band-Aids on the booboos.”
By Army Sgt. Ken Scar
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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