Red ruby blood shed
Blood crystal crimson red
His precious blood shed.
It is her hope to show the non-fiction side of the story as a mother who has lost a son and wishes to share her thoughts, feelings, and brokenness from her ordeal as a grieving parent. Richard said, "Mom, we'll be home in ten days."
Remy reveals page by page the gut wrenching and heart stopping true story, which led her son, Richard, to his grave.
Unedited perspective of a mother from the heart
A must read war novel
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
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SPC DAVISTHE LIFE AND DEATH OF RICHARD T. DAVIS
By Remy Davis
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Remy Davis
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHO IS SPC DAVIS?
Long before joining the Army, he had excelled in reading and the arts. He was awarded a "Junior Author" blue ribbon in sixth grade and received A+'s in Arts at Francis Howell Central High in St. Charles, Missouri. He also went through the common rebellious phase of teenage life. He spent his after-school hours skateboarding with friends and cousins in dangerous places – most of the time without wearing a helmet and shin guards. He dyed his hair with blond streaks and wore pants that swept the floor. He racked up speeding tickets in his pride and joy electric blue Honda Civic. He worked part-time delivering pizzas. He kept himself occupied with positive activities atypical of a boy his age. At 16, he joined an Army Reserve program as a weekend warrior with once monthly weekend training, and upon high school graduation, Richard joined the U.S. Regular Army.
Like those who currently serve and like all of those who have served honorably, and dedicated their lives to their country, SPC Richard T. Davis was a soldier. At many points in life, we make pivotal decisions. One of these decisions can be to serve our country. Some join the service for the GI Bill. Some do it to put a roof over their heads, food on their tables and provide medical coverage for their loved ones. Some choose to do it for adventure. Some enlist for something to do, "just because." The reasons do not matter. What does matter is the sense of pride and patriotism that brings them to answer the call, a vocation to put on the uniform and serve.
One of Richard's NCOs (non-commission officer) called him "a dreamer and a creator, a man who saw things differently from the rest of us, set apart from the rest of the pack. He recalled that while in Baghdad, Richard collected items which, to others, appeared as nothing more than junk and with ingenuity created an elaborate stove system. Richard used this stove to make a variety of things for the platoon. He made coffee, Freedom fries and all rarities of food he could find to cook.
According to one of his sergeants, Richard once gave his last cigarette away, in the heat of the battle, to calm the nerves of a fellow soldier. His sergeant described his generosity as "looking out for your buddy." During times of stress, his sense of humor and keen choice of words would instantly make his fellow soldiers smile.
He completed basic training at Fort. Jackson, South Carolina, then was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas with the First Cavalry, Field Artillery Unit. When he was with the Cavalry Division, his idol was Elvis Presley. He admired Elvis not only as an enlisted soldier but also as the king of rock and roll. He also liked Elvis' hairstyle, his dance moves, and his big sunglasses.
In the late 90's, Richard served a tour of duty in wartime Bosnia as a driver for the Battalion Commander and a machine gunner. It was during that time that he witnessed the discovery and excavation of the mass graves.
In 2000, he returned home on leave with pain in his eyes. He could not understand how humanity could be so cruel and heartless. It was apparent that he was not the same fun-loving Richard anymore. He used to tell me, "Mom, mean people suck."
On September 11, 2001, he decided to leave the army, but on his return home, he found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. Subsequently, he rejoined the army and was then stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. That was where the real torment began. He was thrown into a unit where discipline and leadership were absent. He had expressed sympathy for his Sergeants who had difficulties with their problematic and incorrigible subordinates. He gave unconditional and complete support to his supervisors.
He joined Baker Company in April 2001, and immediately deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Spring. His unit, the Third Brigade, Third Infantry, returned home in the fall of 2002. Their visit was brief as they quickly returned to Kuwait in preparation for the Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion of Iraq, ordered by then Commander in Chief, 43rd President George W. Bush. Richard served as a rifleman during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and looked to Audie Murphy for his foot soldier inspiration. Murphy was a well-decorated war hero and veteran of the Second World War as well as a Hollywood movie star, who had portrayed himself in the 1955 Cinemascope war film, "To Hell and Back." Richard too had his share of "Hell and back" at Kelly Hill and in Baghdad.
In February 2003, Richard sent us a card. It was the last letter we received from him. On the front of the card is a cartoon camel smiling with a holiday recipe inside titled, "How to Stuff a Camel." He was probably laughing when he bought the card. The card would make me smile even while in my grief.
"I live in a 60-man tent with no heat or electricity. Get to take a cold shower every 4 days. It is only going to get worse from here. They don't know when we're coming home. Rumor is we're moving North on February 12. All I am doing now is training – that is all we do. The only thing keeping me going is watching all the.... complain about the living conditions. You can send me a package no bigger than a shoebox. Well, that is it for now. Love, Rich".
On March 19, 2003, Richard's Platoon formed the very tip of the spear which spearheaded the Invasion of Iraq. They led the US assault on the Western Bank of the Euphrates River, while the Marines assaulted from the other side of the Tigris River. His unit engaged in some of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War Invasion.
I enlisted in the US Army during the Vietnam War and served as an Army Medic in Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. That is where I met my husband, Sergeant Lanny Davis.
Lanny was a US Army career Policeman who spent 20 years in the Army, serving several tours in Korea and Vietnam. Lanny had just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam when he met me in Forest Glen, Maryland, where the US Army female barracks for Walter Reed Army Medical Center are located. We met in the dining hall at the Psychiatric Hospital in Maryland.
The dormitory in Forest Glen is old. It was built during the Plantation Era. There is a beautiful garden ruin with broken statues, similar to French garden landscaping with French architectural design at the back of the building. Very quiet and tranquil, this garden is perfect for meditation and reading. It is surrounded by mature trees, in a forest rich and lush with untamed foliage. You can hear the birds tweet and the Kittydidit sing, "dit, dit, dit" in the late afternoon. You can occasionally hear the choo-choo of the train passing by from a distance at night. You can open your window and have fresh air filtered by the green forest at night.
There is a feeling of peace and serenity as you walk by the ruins and wooded area. Perhaps this was a place where debutantes spent romantic evenings promenading with their suitors – where they would chat, share gossip, and sip cups of tea during hot summer afternoons. Seeing the broken sculptures can spark your imagination and bring you to a world before our time.
In contrast, the front of the barracks is busy, noisy and filled with military hospital traffic and activity. The front side of the dormitory may as well be considered a war zone. There is constant action 24 hours a day – people talking, laughing, coming and going in and out of the parking lot slamming their car doors, in and out of the barracks. Some drive themselves; some share a ride: Others take the military bus that runs every 30 minutes to an hour to the main hospital in Walter Reed, Washington D.C., where we worked.
The WAC's are also busy going across a unique bridge to the Psychiatric Hospital of Walter Reed, Forest Glen, Maryland. Whether it is to eat or to work, you cross a wagging bridge, and walk approximately 500 yards in an open space to get to the hospital. The hospital, I heard, was once a finishing school for elite debutantes. They learned social graces like those espoused by Emily Post – of our time. The place is ornately decorated with huge, beautiful chandeliers and spacious ballrooms where they once danced through the night. It is irresistible to imagine the decorum and protocols Victorian women experienced in that building, evening gowns sweeping the floor, surrounded by handsome eligible bachelors looking to court their perfect match. So many years later, Lanny and I also found each other where those couples had danced.
Walking by that open space between the barracks and the hospital gives me the creeps and makes my knees shake. You see and feel the "ruins" of the poor boys of Vietnam. You see Vietnam vet soldiers mangled up, amputees, one-eyed, soldiers walking aimlessly in a stupor or catatonic. They are the wounded warriors who carry deeper invisible wounds. While I was on my way to the mess hall, one soldier chased me with a big teddy bear. He asked to marry me. He grabbed my two skinny legs on his one bended knee. I was only 105 pounds, but I had strong legs. I was startled, of course, and kept on going after he let me go. I was not offended – I was just in shock. I shed tears of empathy. I saw the anguish in the eyes of the soldier. I was sad to see how this soldier had become, how he lost his mind. He did not intend to hurt me in any way. Maybe he just had a flashback and a transference of a loved one he left behind or lost in Vietnam.
One afternoon, while I was eating in the mess hall in Maryland, a friend of mine approached me. She wanted me to join them, and wanted to introduce me to Sergeant Davis, who was interested in meeting me. "Join you next time," I declined. I was dining with another friend, a regular tablemate.
Although this was a hospital, the atmosphere was filled with camaraderie and socializing. You can take your time and pick whom you want to dine with. Lanny went to the hospital to eat sometimes. He could not stand his own mess hall, and there were not many women there to socialize with. The mess hall foods were miserable looking peas, corn from a can, and ready-to-serve chicken patties. After a month, I was surprised by a knock at my door in the barracks. Again, it was my friend, and she was with Sgt. Davis. She said that Davis wanted to take me out to celebrate my 24th birthday. I said, "With one condition-we all go." That was when I formally met my future husband. He was a persistent soldier.
My son Richard was 24 years old the last time I saw him. I was 24 years old when I met his dad. To me, this is an age of significance. My first date with my future husband did not happen at the back ruin garden of Forest Glen barracks where debutante's pinky fingers went up whilst tilting their cups of tea. It happened over a bucket of popcorn soaked with butter and a greasy corn dog at a cinema in D.C. It was a typical American Graffiti-style of celebration, a birthday with friends. The second date was a one-on-one, at the King Crab Restaurant. During that dinner date, we were both armed with wooden mallets. The waiter told us to get up and pick our own live crab to be cooked. After the crabs were steamed, our waiter brought them to us with spices strong enough to clear nasal passages. The meal was served with chilled mugs of beer to wash it down. You pound the crab legs and claws with the mallet until the juices of the crab splatter and cover the brown paper covering of the table, which eventually ends up soaking wet and saggy.
Wow! This was like a crabby date Americana-style in the Bikini Bottom where Sponge Bob lives. Love it. You smell your hands and they are fishy; you run to the women's room to wash your hands so you do not smell like seaweed - but it still smells. Oh! What a mess. What a date. One good thing, his PTSD had not become a full-blown case yet. The paranoid ideations are not noticeable enough to be concerned. Otherwise, he might think that I am a mermaid and bring me to the big tank of live crabs to swim.
During the 1970s, an Arab leader, I think it was Arafat, visited Washington D.C. He was taken to the King Crab Restaurant, according to the telecast. His comment was, "You Americans are barbaric." To him it was an insult beyond his expectation to be brought to such an eatery. Most Americans, consider it exotic and fun. It is a place where you drink more than you eat. I liked it. I picked the place. A must-go-and-see according to the WACs. It is a popular place to go in D.C., especially among the enlisted soldiers and officers alike, who just want to enjoy each other's company.
I noticed Lanny did not like eating or dealing with the crab much. It was hard labor if you were not a seafood lover. He sweated and agonized picking the meat out of the nooks and crannies of the crab. I watched how miserable he looked with his hands shaking, the same hands that pulled triggers of a .45 pistol and an M16 on enemies about two months earlier in Vietnam. I watched him getting frustrated with the crab, slurp-gulping more beer. He did not have time to look me in the eye or carry a conversation. I thought in a minute he would surrender and give up fighting "Mr. Crab."
Poor Mr. Crab was dead and helpless. I waited for him to say, "I give up, that's it. Let's go eat some 'bamboo' or a porterhouse steak somewhere," but I was dating a persistent Missouri man. His focus was on the crab in aggravation, PTSD all right. He was task-oriented. The crab became his Vietcong, one-on-one, bare hand combat assault with a mallet. He did not quit until he got the crab meat out of the shell. Every time he got a big chunk of meat, you would see relief on his face. "There you go," he would say.
After knowing Sgt. Davis for a short time, we were separated. We were assigned to different posts his was PCS, Permanent Change of Station to Seoul, Korea, while I was assigned to Fort Polk, Louisiana. After over a year of duty in Korea, he requested to be stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana. I thought he had forgotten me. He had the Mac Arthur motto "I shall return!"
At the time, the Vietnam "War" was still ongoing and, as usual, wounded soldiers were coming home. There was a need for post-war mental health providers. I was sent to advanced training in social work and counseling at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After successful completion, I was assigned to the Mental Health Clinic, Fort Polk, Louisiana to support the Fifth Infantry Mechanized Division. It was an Infantry Training Post. We processed "conscientious objectors," "security clearance for job promotions and reclassifications," and "assess BCT, Basic Combat Training recruits for continued service" under the supervision of a competent Psychiatrist, who was a very easy person to work with. The recruiters have quotas to meet, so it was understandable that they were letting in undesirables. On the receiving end, the army is responsible to identify and refer those individuals showing signs and symptoms of CBD, Character Behavior Disorders, severe mental conditions and other bizarre behaviors within 90 days for continued duty or for discharge for the good of the military. Therefore, the 90 days assessment and screening are a crucial process that identifies and eliminates those with severe disorders before they become a liability to the system.
My casework burden began taking its toll on my personal life. I was inhaling a lot of "PTSD second-hand smoke." I gave my future husband and myself another year to decompress. Next came a year of rocky relationship as we were both suffering from invisible wounds. The Vietnam War kept going. I left the military to catch some fresh air, but I learned that Los Angeles fresh air is nothing but smog, so it was time to move on. After a period of readjusting to civilian life, we got married. Soon, I followed him to Germany on his next duty station where he worked as a military combat engineer.
After a year of honeymoon in Europe, I conceived my first-born pride and joy - a son whom my husband named Richard Thomas Davis. We were both very happy and proud parents. We were on top of the world. Life was good and we felt blessed. It was heaven on earth.
MILITARY LIFE EXPERIENCE
Our family was well traveled. We had traveled the world and across America due to military duty. Our travel and adventure took the family to Germany, Spain, France, California and Kansas. Our family went to stations where Lanny was assigned. We experienced the pains of packing and unpacking, the joy and excitement of relocating to a new post, the tedium of readjustment and unemployment, and the sadness of leaving friends behind. Richard Davis lived this as a member of a military family.
Excerpted from SPC DAVIS by Remy Davis Copyright © 2012 by Remy Davis. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: WHO IS SPC DAVIS?....................9
CHAPTER 2: CHARACTER FOUNDATION....................25
CHAPTER 3: MILITARY RETIREMENT....................29
CHAPTER 4: GOD GIVEN POTENTIAL....................35
CHAPTER 5: THE PRE-IRAQ INVASION....................45
CHAPTER 6: THE WAR BEGINS....................51
CHAPTER 7: THE POST-IRAQ WAR INVASION....................65
CHAPTER 8: THE ABDUCTION IN KELLY HILL....................75
CHAPTER 9: MAYHEM: THE ABUSED SOLDIER....................81
CHAPTER 10: THE DESPERATE SEARCH, AWOL....................91
CHAPTER 11: THE MURDER....................99
CHAPTER 12: POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER....................111
CHAPTER 13: THE ARREST....................119
CHAPTER 14: THE TRIAL....................123
CHAPTER 15: THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE....................149
CHAPTER 16: THE EVIDENCE....................153
CHAPTER 17: THE FUNERAL....................161
CHAPTER 18: MOURNING AFTER....................167
CHAPTER 19: BEFORE AND AFTER THE FACT....................183
CHAPTER 20: LIFE AFTER LOSS....................189