By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Honoring those who have served the U.S.
Shirley Says
shirley 1
Deida Carter and Dr. Jarvis Allen stand next to a prized car. - photo by Photo provided.
“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men!”
- Gen. George Patton, Jr.

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. In an act of unity, President Truman created one holiday to honor the combined forces of the United States military. Every year since 1950 we’ve honored the men and women who have served in uniform.  
After the creation of the combined holiday, all branches of the military dropped their individual holidays, except for the Marine Corps. The Marines celebrate Armed Forces Day but still maintain Marine Corps Day, in honor of the establishment of the Corps. Armed Forces Day is distinguished from other holidays as a celebration of the power that protects us.
My grandparents, Floy and Henry Davis, had seven sons who served in the armed forces; Samuel, Kermit, Jesse, James, Henry (Junior), Hiram and Joseph. Remembering my childhood is sacred; there were so many special people there. Growing up, it seemed my uncles were away most of the time…fighting a war.
It was a morning ritual to walk with my grandma to the mail box at the head of the dirt road in Blueberry. When she grabbed her bonnet, I grabbed mine. (On her treadle sewing machine, she made me two exactly like hers, which are on display at the Richmond Hill Historical Museum.) It was a challenge to walk across the cattle–gap. I feared my tiny bare feet would slip through the bars. Once safely across, we waited for Mr. Casey. From the look on her face, I knew this was serious business. She needed to hear from her sons since they were far from home!
Having no telephone, trips to the mailbox were more important to my grandparents as their sons joined the armed forces.
1940: Kermit and Jesse joined the U.S. Army National Guard.
World War II: Three brothers were there -- Sam, Jesse and James. They joined the U.S. Navy the same day, Dec. 15, 1941.
Korean War:  Three brothers were there – Jesse, Henry Jr. and Hiram. (Henry and Hiram served on the same ship, the USS Helena.)
Vietnam: Two brothers were there – Hiram and Joseph. (Hiram served two tours.)
All the brothers returned home safely. Jesse was the only one harmed and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in World War II.
As Joseph proudly says, “This is one family who did its share for the freedom of our country. We would be willing to serve again. I’m so proud of my brothers!” Several of my female cousins have followed in their footsteps:
Brenda Butler Acebes (U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy Reserves, Oct. 72-Dec. 77). (Niece of the Davis sons)
Sandra Davis Bensley (US Navy 1987-1991) (granddaughter of Jesse)
Jennifer Brackin (Army National Guard 2007-Present) (Granddaughter of Hiram)
Two Richmond Hill men who are good friends proudly served in the armed forces; Ray Carter (aka Deida) and Jarvis Allen. Though separated in age by many years, their military mind-set is parallel. They often discuss their careers during early morning walks.  
Deida served in Europe during World War II as a second lieutenant assigned to the Third Army European Theater of Operations. As a foreign observer directing fire from an aircraft, he explains, “It was just the pilot and me. The pilot was very aggressive…taking me right over the front lines so I could see where the enemy was. Although we came down with holes in the fuselage, we were never taken down!” On three occasions, he saw Gen. Patton speed past him in his jeep. He said, “I never actually got close to him. He would zip by…I guess for security reasons they couldn’t afford to go slowly.” With tears welling up in his eyes, he recalls his service during World War II…“The Army’s been good to me. I would do it all over again!”
Dr. Jarvis retired as a lieutenant colonel after 22 years of service. He was a member of the elite 82nd Airborne Division and a U.S. Army Dental Officer. A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, he recalls treating Major General Stubblebine…brother of actor Lee Marvin. He says, “He’s sitting in my chair with two MP’s standing nearby. It’s as if they were saying, ‘Don’t hurt him!’” Dr. Jarvis adds, “I loved the camaraderie with my fellow soldiers. Those memories remain and will never be forgotten.” Now he spends his time tinkering with his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster, working around the house and traveling with his wife Margie.

Hiers was born and raised in Richmond Hill. She can be reached at
Sign up for our E-Newsletters