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Rangers honor hometown hero
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Master Sgt. Jessie P. Davis - photo by Provided

Master Sergeant Jessie P. Davis was recently inducted to the "Fallen Ranger Memorial" by the United States Mountain Ranger Association (USMRA), at Camp Frank D. Merrill, Dahlonega, Ga.,

Davis grew up in Richmond Hill and still has family members residing here, including brothers Kermit Davis and Sam Davis Sr., and sisters Allene Davis Butler and Alice Davis Futch of Hinesville.

One brother, Hiram Davis resides in Dothan, Ala., another, Joe Davis lives in Richland, Wash.,and another, Henry Davis Jr resides in Houston, Texas.

Ranger Steve Hawk, President of the Mountain Ranger Association, spoke of the tribute and what it means. Each year, the USMRA has the honor of placing the names of Fallen Rangers on a road sign at the bridge that crosses the Etowah River on Camp Frank D. Merrill. Friends and family members are invited to attend and help honor these fallen comrades.

Every Ranger student who has trained at Camp Frank D. Merrill has crossed this bridge at some time during his time in the mountains. As the Ranger students walk in the shadow of the sign, they can be inspired by the dedication to the "Ranger Way" that each man named there represents.

Hawk also went on to say that as a standing operating procedure, if a Ranger gets separated from his group, he is to return to his last mustering station. At Camp Frank D. Merrill, this is the bridge mentioned above. As Hawk spoke to family and friends he stated: "We like to think that our fallen heroes muster at this bridge; and you are encouraged to visit this mustering station at any time. These heroes are our family members, thus you are our family members".

After the name has been on the bridge for one year; the hero’s hometown is encouraged to name a street after the Fallen Ranger. At that time; the street sign will be delivered to the hometown by an Honor Guard for the unveiling ceremony.

Traveling from Knoxville, Tenn., to attend the ceremony was Davis’ daughter, Yvonne Davis Housewright, her husband Bill and their three children, Jesse, Stephanie and David. Davis’ sister Allene, accompanied by two of her children, Randy Butler and Brenda Butler Acebes and her husband Bill Acebes, and grandson Thayer Butler traveled from Richmond Hill to attend.

Master Sgt. Davis was honored in 1994 by a stone purchased at the Ranger Memorial at Fort Benning, GA.

The following was read by Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Bill Acebes at the ceremony:

"Master Sergeant Jessie P. Davis was born 26 Nov. 1922 to Henry and Floy Davis of Richmond Hill.

He joined the Navy on Monday, 15 Dec. 1941, after Pearl Harbor and served in World War II in several areas (American, European-African Middle Eastern Area, Asiatic-Pacific). He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his service on 5 April 1942, while the Japanese were attacking Colombo, Ceylon. His ship was anchored in the harbor waiting to be off loaded. He manned one of the guns on the ship. He left the Navy (in 1945) after WWII and joined the United States Army in 1946. He served in the 5th Regimental Combat Team in Korea, arriving in country on 31 July 1950.

In a newspaper interview as one of the first Korean War Veterans to return home under the Army’s rotation plan, Master Sgt. Davis stated how happy he was to be home after spending approximately 9-1/2 months of combat time in Korea. He hated to leave his old buddies who served with him in Company A, Fifth RCT of the 24th Division; but was glad to be back with his wife and four year old son. After taking a well deserved rest, Master Sgt. Davis said he would report as an instructor on the type of fighting that was being done in Korea.

He was assigned to Company H, 1st Student Regiment, as a member of the initial training cadre, sent to Dahlonega, Ga. to establish the Mountain Ranger Training Phase; for the training of the newly organized Ranger Companies and Ranger School.

His awards, decorations and campaigns include: National Defense, American Area, European-African Middle Eastern Area, Asiatic-Pacific area, Purple Heart – awarded two. Navy (WWII) and Army (Korea), Combat Infantryman’s Badge, United Nations Service Medal (Korea), Korean Service Medal, Korean Campaign Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and Soviet Freedom medal.

M/SGT Davis died in an automobile accident on 12 July 1952. He is survived by his wife Lillian and two children, Calvin Phillip Davis and Yvonne Davis Housewright."




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