The honor guard carried Sgt. David "Joey" Davis' flag-draped casket out of the church Thursday and hoisted it onto the back of an antique fire engine. It seemed a fitting way for the fun-loving volunteer firefighter and combat medic to go out -- second, perhaps, only to the back of a pick-up truck.
Thursday, relatives and friends laid to rest the 32-year-old Lisbon native, who died Sept. 17 after a homemade bomb exploded next to his armored vehicle as his unit conducted an operation in a teeming, violent Baghdad neighborhood.
During the funeral, the U.S. Army honored Sergeant Davis with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His job was to care for injured soldiers, and before his deployment, he spent more than a decade with the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company.
"He liked being a hero," his sister-in-law, Mrs. Peggy Cantler-Davis, said.
As a long line of Lisbon's yellow fire engines pulled out of the Lisbon United Methodist Church, some of the town's residents lined the funeral route holding American flags.
During Sergeant Davis' deployment, the town's post office had set off an area for him, accepting donations for packages from home and directions on how to write to him, according to the volunteer company.
Members of the company stood in formation behind the police department's honor guard, many crying as his coffin was carried from the church.
Sergeant Davis' brother, Mr. James "Andy" Davis, who is a firefighter, said that his younger brother was his best friend and always a little "wild and crazy."
He described when, as children, they tried to ride a pony without a bridle or saddle. The pony threw both of them off.
Mr. Davis said that his brother "wrecked every truck he drove" and that he was a "cowboy," who danced and who sang "louder than the radio." Read the rest at the Baltimore SunLisbon Mourns Death of Local Soldier
In the small town of Lisbon, the post office runs its flag at half-mast, with a wreath decorating the pole. The volunteer fire station and its yellow trucks are draped in black ribbons. Its roadside sign now reads, “In memory of Sgt. Joey Davis, U.S. Army, 1973-2006.”
Residents of the tight-knit community are mourning the death of Sgt. David “Joey” Davis, who was killed on Sept. 17 by a bomb that exploded next to his vehicle outside Baghdad, shortly after he was originally scheduled to come home.
Davis, 32, was stationed in Alaska with the U.S. Army’s Fourth Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
The team was deployed to Iraq in August 2005, and Davis was set to return on July 31 before being re-directed again to Baghdad.
A resident of Mt. Airy (Howard County), Davis was married to Roberta Davis of Fairbanks, Alaska, and has three children.
After graduating from Glenelg High School in 1991, he worked with the Lisbon fire company as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.
Norman Snyder, vice president of the fire company, said his co-workers’ first reaction was shock, and no one slept the night they learned of his death.
“He had the aspiration to be a professional firefighter,” Snyder said of Davis, noting that his mother was also in the Ladies’ Auxiliary and his brother is a firefighter in Frederick. “He was extremely active until he joined the Army.”
Snyder described Davis as fun to have around, adding he can still picture him in his cowboy hat and boots.
“Joey was best-known for his reliability. He would be there whenever he was needed,” he said. “He was a good-natured boy, he liked to have fun.”
When Davis’ body returned, the fire company arranged to have it pass the station.
“We stood in full… gear and saluted as the hearse passed by,” Snyder said. Read the rest at the ViewMedic died after tour extended
In late July -- less than a week before he was to return home from Iraq -- Army combat medic Sgt. David J. "Joey" Davis of Lisbon learned that his one-year tour of duty had been extended until after Thanksgiving, perhaps until February.
Military commanders had selected the sergeant's heavily armored brigade for a critical crackdown on Shiite militiamen in the epicenter of Baghdad's sectarian violence: the dangerous, 2 million-person slum of Sadr City.
It was there Sunday that a homemade bomb detonated near Sergeant Davis' eight-wheel, 19-ton Stryker Armored Vehicle, killing the 32-year-old and injuring two other soldiers, one severely.
"He was mad, very disappointed that he couldn't come home," his older brother, James "Andy" Davis, said yesterday. "But he knew they had a job to do. He wanted to stay with the guys he had been with. They needed him if they got hurt."
The last-minute extension of duty took members of the Alaska-based 172nd Stryker Brigade by surprise.
Sergeant Davis, who married his second wife, Roberta, in Alaska last year, delivered the news in a phone call home to his mother.
She relayed the news to the nearby Lisbon Volunteer Fire Station, where Sergeant Davis began working after graduating from Glenelg High School in 1991.
Yesterday, members of the Lisbon fire company remembered him as an eager volunteer, among the first to arrive in his pickup truck whenever the station's siren would sound.
"He wanted to get into the military because he wanted to be a career firefighter," said Capt. Jim Baker, who had been sitting down at the station's computer to send his friend an e-mail when a fellow volunteer broke the news of Sergeant Davis' death.
"The fire service looks at the military as something good and could be a deciding factor in getting a job," said Captain Baker. "It's good training."
He said that when Sergeant Davis was just 18 years old, he took him under his wing as a new volunteer, getting him accustomed to the firehouse.
At that time, Sergeant Davis' life centered around "the firehouse, girls, like all 18-year-old boys, and he was big into rodeos," Captain Baker said.
"He mostly watched [rodeo]. I think he rode a few times and got knocked around," Captain Baker recalled.
Captain Baker and Andy Davis described Sergeant Davis as a "country boy." He loved country music and trucks and was most at home in a cowboy hat, boots and jeans, they said.
Before joining the Army, he worked on his brother's cattle farm in Emmitsburg, did construction work and drove tractor-trailers.
As a "thunderhorse," or dismount medic in Iraq, Sergeant Davis cared for injured soldiers on the scene of any medical emergency.
"That EMT training he used in the Army, he first received as a volunteer firefighter," his brother said.
He said his younger brother rarely spoke about the stress of battle.
The soldier's e-mail correspondence mostly centered on packages bringing the comforts of home that would make what he planned to be his final year in the Army more tolerable.
From an October 2005 message: "It's 120 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Thanks for the package. My buddy Ray-Ray gave me some ideas for care packages. I'd like to have some handy snacks, cheese and crackers, Strawberry Twizzlers, gummy bears, Ding Dongs, May Day candy bars, Chex Mix, Planters peanuts and also some more baby wipes."
Sergeant Davis used the wipes to clean the sweat and sand off his large, black protective goggles.Read the rest at the Baltimore Sun
Related Link:David J. Davis remembered; died just weeks after Iraq tour extended