Monday, May 28, 2007

Michael Davis remembered

Michael Davis wasn’t the best trombone player in the San Marcos High School Rattler Marching Band; but his personality was such that his mere presence “made the whole section considered cool,” Davis’ longtime friend Ben Stout remembered on Thursday.

Davis, 22, a 2002 graduate of SMHS and a Specialist in the U.S. Army, was one of three American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Monday. As news spread across town, friends recalled a person who never saw a challenge he couldn’t meet — one whose mission, if you will, was all about being happy and confident.

“He was one of the most incredible people I ever got the chance to know,” said Matt Sustaita, another longtime friend. “He was the kind of guy people looked up to.”

Davis was a man with a “motto,” the friends said, of tackling every problem. “Whenever I came to him with a problem, he’d say, ‘How are we going to handle this,’” said Stout. “He could figure anything out, man, if he just wanted to, if he just tried,” said Sustaita, whether it was a math problem or auto repair. “He had a way of explaining things to people that made it seem so easy, even the most complicated things.”

“He was a very, very, very cool guy,” Stout said, and not a violent one. “He went over to the war like he goes everywhere, to bring a little bit of peace and love and serenity to the area around him. He never went over to Iraq to kill people. He chose to go over there and he knew the risks.”

Davis joined the Army in 2005 and was sent to Iraq in September 2006, assigned to the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. According to the Associated Press, he worked as a combat engineer whose job was to locate and defuse improvised explosive devices.

His mother, Sonya Kennedy, told the AP she and other family members tried to convince him not to join the Army. “He would listen, but he knew what he wanted,” Kennedy told the AP.

In December 2005 he married his high school sweetheart Taryn.

“They were so happy. You don’t get the chance to see that kind of happiness often anymore but you could see it when you looked at them — they were going to be together forever,” Sustaita said. “I was so happy for them. Taryn loved him so much and he loved her right back just as much, just as fiercely.”

Davis had last been home earlier this spring and Stout, whose family has a restaurant, took two days off to spend time with his friend. Now, “I’m kicking myself for not just completely taking off work and hanging out with him.”

Sustaita, an aspiring hip-hop producer, also got to visit with Davis on his last visit home.

“When he came back he asked me for a CD, he said he could play music” in his armored vehicle while on patrol. “He took the CD with him, and I have this really weird hope that maybe he was jamming to my CD when it happened.”

Stout agreed. “I’m sure he was happy when he died. I’m sure he was listening to hip-hop beat. I know the soldiers over there are missing him. I’m really going to miss him. He blessed everyone in his life.”

Davis was scheduled to end his deployment in a little over a year. “I thought I’d see him again and we’d all be together again,” Stout said.

“He had so much more life to live and everybody knew he was going to do so much with his life and they couldn’t wait to watch and be a part of it,” said Sustaita.

From the San Marcos Record

Related Link:
Michael W. Davis dies of 'wounds suffered when multiple improvised explosive devices detonated near his vehicle'