The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 2LT Leonard Douglas Davis II, who died in the service of his country on August 2nd, 1966 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Mortars. At the time of his death Leonard was 22 years of age. He was from Bisbee, Arizona. Leonard is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 09E, Line 96.
The decorations earned by 2LT Leonard Douglas Davis II include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
(From Bob Ord, Lt. Davis' company commander)
Doug was one of those Infantry platoon leaders every company commander seeks to lead soldiers in combat. He sincerely cared about his troops, was always out front leading, and was aggressive and cool under fire. He was one of those rare individuals who was admired by his peers, his superiors and his subordinates alike. The loss of this brave, bright, and promising young officer was a tragedy for all who knew him. Doug was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in the battle that cost him his life.
(From Charles Brown, a fellow platoon leader)
As I remember, he was very outspoken and had an extensive and colorful vocabulary to go with that trait. I do not say that in the negative sense (as it is often used) but in a very positive way. Doug knew more about as many subjects as anyone I've ever known. He could discuss philosophy of the ancient Greeks on one hand and turn around and enter into an in-depth discussion of military tactics or history on the other and still have time to give on opinion on the latest movie or Broadway play.
He was an avid reader and could devour a book in a matter of hours. Soon after arrival in Viet Nam, Doug persuaded me to read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." Once I finished, he borrowed it and reread it in less than three days. That's what I mean by "devouring" a book. I still have that particular book and cannot look at it without thinking of Doug and recalling the conversations we had about it.
I was told by another West Point Officer that Lt. Davis (in 1965) graduated with either the third or fourth highest academic average. I never doubted it for a moment. Lt. Davis never left the impression that he was more intelligent, better educated, or was superior in any way.
In our times together in the BOQ at 3rd Brigade's Pleiku base camp, Doug often spoke of his girl friend and their plans together after he returned home. He asked a lot of questions about married life and coping with being separated and at the same time being loyal to someone so far away. He was very concerned about his fiancee and being able to see her again. He was as devoted to her as my "married" man in our unit. There is no doubt that he would have made a great husband and father.
We often had a lot of fun joking with each other about our military background and training. He was from West Point and I received my commission through the ROTC program at The University of North Alabama. The last words he spoke to me on the evening of August 2, 1966, were "pass on through, Alabama National Guard," in reference to me having served in the Ala. Guard while attending college. He often kidded me about being a PFC "company clerk" just a few short months before I was a 2LT platoon leader in a war zone. Because of his personality I never thought he was making fun of me or anyone else for that matter. He was just enjoying the moment.
I remember the time when our CO, CPT Bob Ord, called me to the CP, and informed me of Doug's death and ordered that I shift my platoon's positions to cover the void left in the perimeter due to the attack on Lt. Davis' sector. Lt. Davis had given his life in an attempt to rescue some of his men who had been wounded and to secure the bodies of those that had been killed in action. I was not surprised by the news because I expected no less from Doug. I suppose a small part of me died that night with him.
I have been to the Wall in Washington, DC, on several occasions and always find his name just as a reminder of what a fine young officer and gentleman he was. There is something sobering about seeing a name on that wall.
I have always counted it an honor to have served in the same unit with Lt. Davis. I truly feel that my life was changed by being associated with him for those nine months so many years ago. Not only did I lose a friend, but America lost an outstanding young officer and gentleman.
(From Childhood Friend Charlotte Hayes)
I'm honored to be able to write a bit about Doug. He and I were classmates in both grade school and high school. I had plenty of time to get to know and appreciate Doug for all that he was and all that he was not.
Doug Davis was intelligent, athletic, good looking, and popular. He was not arrogant, overbearing, boorish, or a bully. I can't think of a person in our school who didn't like Doug. Teachers and students all really thought he was a great person.
I remember how proud Doug was when his appointment to West Point was announced. Nothing like that had ever happened to anyone from our small mining town. He led the way for two more of our "gang" to eventually go to the Academy.
The last time I saw Doug, I was amazed. It had only been three years, but he looked like an entirely different person. He stood taller, he looked bigger, and he had a confidence about him that spoke to the things he'd learned about leadership. We were at a New Year's dance in our home town, and we danced once and then talked for quite a while. He talked about what he'd be doing after graduation. He said he'd be going to Ft. Benning for Ranger school, and then to Vietnam. I believe he met the love of his life while at Ft. Benning. I'm sure she is a wonderful person as Doug would have not been attracted to anyone but the best.
I sat down with coffee in hand to read the Tucson paper one morning in August, 1966. There was a headline that screamed out at me because it said something about a Bisbee boy being killed in Vietnam. I was so shocked and horrified that Doug had died. It just didn't seem possible to me.
Nobody seemed to know what had happened to Doug. I didn't ask his mother or brother because I didn't want to cause more pain and heartache. The Internet is a wonderful tool. I started posting messages, and eventually, small details were sent to me. His class historian sent me some printed information through the US postal system. Someone else sent me an e-mail address for someone who had run track with Doug back at the Academy. Eventually, I got an e-mail from someone who was Doug's RTO. That man was an angel. He called me, and we talked for a very long time. He then sent me print material that I could read describing that fateful day in 1966.
Now, it's 2003 and I've been fortunate enough to be in contact with someone who linked me to Doug's page on the Cacti site. I'll remain forever grateful for the short time that I had the privilege of knowing LT Leonard Douglas Davis.
A Brave Heart with a Brilliant Mind !
Posted for: LEONARD DOUGLAS DAVIS:
My friend, Doug was a man of rare capacities. In athletics, he had exceptional strength and stamina. The thoughts of watching him gracefully leap over the hurdles with the track team races back to the forefront of my mind. His intellect was admired by his professors and peers. Thru the blending of this myriad of talents evolved a kind and spiritual soul. He was a valuable asset to his family and friends, his hometown of Bisbee, Arizona, West Point and to our Country. We are greatly saddened by the loss of this distinctive individual and are blessed to have known him. In loving memory, we have named our son, Douglas Leonard Graeme.
Posted by: Nina S. Graeme
Relationship: We were high school classmates
Lt. Davis is buried in Bisbee, AZ in Evergreen Cemetery.