Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Chris Davis remembered by friends

The old gang at Sisler Loop has scattered.

The Davises moved off post into a new home in Cusseta.

The Suarez and Lisowski families moved elsewhere at Fort Benning after their old quarters were demolished to make room for a brand new housing area.

But the friendships forged during their time on the Loop are as strong as they've ever been. And that was particularly evident Monday morning when they came to mourn the man the neighborhood kids knew as Mr. Chris.

"That's what they called him," said former next door neighbor Mary Suarez shortly after the graveside funeral of Sgt. Chris Davis Monday. He was one of three 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldiers killed June 23 by a roadside bomb and small arms fire outside of Baghdad.

"They loved him and he loved them. He was the sweetest, funniest man I've ever known. He got along well with everyone," Suarez said.

Suarez' husband, Larry Suarez, is deployed to Iraq. So is Kris Lisowski, Ashley's husband. Both are stationed in Bucca with the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery.

They both know well that the knock on the door that Debbie Davis answered could have come at their homes.

"We're Army families," said Suarez. "Losing a soldier like Chris is like losing someone in our own family. We come to Debbie's aid just as she would to ours."

When about 20 motorcycles, carrying members of the Patriot Guard, roared into the Main Post Cemetery at the head of the funeral cortege, Ashley Lisowski figured they were simply friends of Davis.

"He rode a big blue motorcycle so I thought they were more friends of his," she said.

Actually the group attends several funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan with each member carrying a full-sized American flag. They stand at attention throughout the services.

Betty Willis, Mary Suarez' mother, brought her two other daughters -- Jazmine and Jade-Amber Reinitz -- to the funeral, which was conducted by Army Chaplain Cliff Vicars.

"Someone mentioned that Chris loved restoring old cars," said Willis. "Well, I can tell you most of them needed restoring. Our family's in the hauling business and we hauled an old Camero from Texas to Fort Benning for him to work on."

Jazmine, who like the rest of the group was wearing a T-shirt with Chris Davis' name prominently displayed, laughed that he once tried to enlist her help in rebuilding a car.

"He loved cars," she said, "And he loved parties."

That remarked cracked up the women.

"Let's just say Chris was always the center of attention at our neighborhood parties," laughed Willis.

All agreed that he would have really enjoyed this week's Fourth of July activities.

"They'd planned to go out to main post for Saturday's fireworks," said Lisowski. "Chris was due home this week on R&R. They had a lot of things planned."

Davis, a native of Lubbock, Texas, was one of Ray and Herminia Davis' nine children. His folks and his sibling attended the services.

His sister Margaret Davis admitted that Chris was at times loud and full of jokes. But he added that "he would do anything for anyone who needed help."

Lisowski, 22, said Davis would often counsel her and her husband "during our rough times."

"He was great about that. He was older than the rest of us, but you'd never really know it. He was a lot like a kid."

His family said that before Chris left for his fourth tour in Iraq, he told them: "Whatever happens, don't be mad at nobody. Don't be mad at my country. Don't be mad at the Army. Don't be mad at the president. Don't be mad at nobody. I'm doing this on my own, all volunteer. I wanna fight for my country. I wanna do something for my country."

From the Ledger Enquirer

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Chris Davis remembered

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Chris Davis dies 'of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire'