Marine Heroes #8 - Raymond Davis
Hometown: Fitzgerald, GA
Bright flashes and loud explosions burst all around the First Battalion of the Seventh Marines as they marched up a narrow gravel trail, hardly suitable for even the local ox-carts. They were up 3,000 feet in the frigid North Korean mountains with sniper bullets coming from every direction.
Lt. Colonel Raymond Davis suddenly fell to the ground as a shell struck his helmet. His thick winter clothing had already been pierced by two bullets, but Davis got back to his feet to lead his men.
A company of Marine riflemen were trapped by a Chinese surprise attack at the Chosin Reservoir. He and his men fought as they climbed three ridges, traversed the narrow path for eight miles, and dug through the frozen snow in temperatures as low as -35°F, the coldest Korean winter in 100 years.
Lt. Colonel Davis and his First Battalion saved those riflemen, and fought to hold the narrow mountain pass for another dozen days as two Marine regiments escaped destruction. The withdrawal, the longest in American military history, would take 13 days and cost many lives.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950 when nearly one hundred thousand soldiers from the North crossed the 38th parallel that divided South Korea from the Communist North Korea. Unprepared and overwhelmed, the South Korean army was almost destroyed and the South's capitol city of Seoul fell to the invaders within days.
The tide of the war dramatically turned on September 15th when General Douglas McArthur led his forces through the dramatic landing at Inchon. Victory was swift and decisive until the Americans and British forces neared the border with China. The North Koreans were devastated.
The Chinese had warned the United Nations forces not to cross the 38th parallel, and in November 1950, about 8,000 Americans, mostly Marines, were stealthily surrounded by 100,000 experienced Chinese soldiers. At that moment, Raymond Davis was sent to rescue the Marines who had been cut-off.
Lt. Colonel Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman for that bitter cold, valiant mission in the mountains of Korea. During his long career he also received the Navy Cross in World War II, two Distinguish Service Medals, 2 Silver Stars, 2 Legion of Merits, Bronze Star , a Purple Heart, 5 Presidential Unit Citations, 3 NUCs.
Over three decades, Raymond Davis also filled every possible staff and command assignment. During his military career, he has commanded every level of combat from platoon to Division. He was Executive Officer of the 7th Marines in Korea. Lieutenant Colonel Davis was also in 14 Campaigns, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and has been awarded Seven Foreign Awards. He retired in 1972 as a full four-star General.
Raymond Davis is a true American hero.
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