6:41 | While at Georgia Tech, Ray Davis switched from Army ROTC to Navy ROTC and received a commission in the Marine Corps. He was at Camp Lejeune when Pearl Harbor was attacked and soon found himself in the Pacific, defending the airfield on Guadalcanal with an anti-aircraft unit. Everyone had malaria and there were no medical supplies but the Marines held fast.
Keywords : Ray Davis Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Pappy Boyington Camp Lejeune New River Pearl Harbor Guadalcanal anti-aircraft (AA) Japanese Malaria Australia
After the bloody battle on Guadalcanal, Ray Davis was promoted to major and put in command of a Marine Battalion. His next landing was at Peleliu, which was supposed to be an easy one but was anything but. By the time it was over, he had earned the Navy Cross.
Ray Davis had distinguished himself in the Pacific campaigns and when he returned stateside, he was assigned to Quantico and the Marine schools. When the next war started, his regiment didn't exist but it was quickly formed and dispatched to Korea. Once the Chinese entered the fray, his battalion trekked up to the Chosin Reservoir where there was nothing but trouble. Part 1 of 2.
F Company was trying to hold the Toktong Pass. They were cut off and under heavy fire. Battalion commander Ray Davis came up with a plan to go around and approach the site from behind. It was a difficult trek in the mountains but he pulled it off, rescued the trapped company and opened up the pass. This enabled the US forces to "advance towards the rear" and successfully evacuate. This action earned him multiple awards, including the Medal of Honor. Part 2 of 2.
We had to give up a lot of real estate when the fighting in Korea became focused on the demarcation line. Some units were very far to the north and had to pull back. Ray Davis had commanded a battalion during some of the fiercest fighting but there was a rotation system, so he was back home when the stalemate started.
The Chinese and the North Koreans were difficult to face because of the sheer numbers, if nothing else. Ray Davis faced them and the Japanese before them. He would eventually face the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese but there is no question in his mind who the toughest foe was.
Based on his service in Korea and on his many trips back there, Ray Davis developed a great deal of admiration for the Korean people. It is nothing short of a miracle what they have done in their country since that war.
When Ray Davis assumed command of the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam, he had one clear idea in mind. Change from a defensive and reactive posture to an offensive one. This led to great success against both the NVA and the Viet Cong but, to his dismay, this was not a war that Washington was going to let him win.
When Ray Davis was in command of the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam, his son, Miles, arrived to command a rifle platoon. The general even walked patrol with him a few times. Years later, he would hear some gentle ribbing because he was usually flying overhead in his command chopper while Miles was slogging his way through the jungle.
General Ray Davis pays tribute to his mates in the Marine Corps, especially his early friendships at the schools. He could not have succeeded like he did without their help.
Ray Davis was back at the Marine Corps schools where he had a run-in with a new boss. Friendships matter and some friends in high places rescued him and got him into a better job at the War College. Then he got exposed to intelligence work at Marine Corps HQ, followed by a tour in Europe. But there was a little place in Southeast Asia that was starting to heat up.
After his Vietnam tour, General Ray Davis had a series of jobs at Quantico and in Washington, the last of which was Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. He did not slow down in retirement, however.
Medal of Honor awarded to General Raymond Davis when he was still a Lieutenant Colonel (1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division).
Bill Cruickshank's father secured him an appointment to West Point but, after only a month there, the Army decided it needed eighteen year olds right now in the war. Everyone born before a certain date was sent home and exposed to the draft. Then, another opportunity opened up for the avid skier. There was a new unit of ski troops being formed.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
The news that President Roosevelt had died caused Dick Arnold to weep openly. He informed the burgermeister of Maastricht, where he was running the Army switchboard. Soon, the entire town square was filled with mourning Dutch civilians. Part 2 of 2.
Bill Cruickshank felt fortunate that he never had to face a bad artillery barrage, but he had more than enough time in a foxhole with bullets flying overhead. You never forget the noise they make when they are close.
As the ship approached San Francisco, Jack Wall was up on deck straining to catch the first sight of land. Everyone was thinking of liberty on shore. As they walked through the gate onto Market Street, all of a sudden there were horns and whistles and a loud noise of celebration. What happened?
The Okinawa campaign had ended the day before, so when Dick Whitaker and a few others set out on patrol, they had let their guard down. Sure enough, as they walked by a cornfield, there was the scream of a die hard Japanese soldier.
Dick Arnold was spent from his action outside Bastogne. He was in a lot of pain and had to be helped around but he could still operate the radio and be an interpreter. Then he got really sick and was given a new wonder drug. It was only then that they noticed he had severe effects from being nearly frozen to death.
The USS Pinkney had a dual role. The ship delivered troops to an invasion and then waited to evacuate wounded. At Okinawa, the troops were already ashore when a kamikaze plane struck it amidships. Pharmacist's Mate Jack Wall describes the incident and how he was almost a victim of it.
The newly formed ski troops were finally finding a purpose. Now part of the 10th Mountain Division, they were dispatched to Italy, where Bill Cruickshank found out that his job was going to be pushing the Germans back from their positions in the mountains above Pisa.
The men were packed in like sardines on the troop ship and Jack Wall was glad when it got to New Caledonia. He was a Navy Corpsman and Pharmacist's Mate and served in the hospital there before he went aboard ship to participate in the upcoming invasions.
They were ready. All radio operator Dick Arnold needed was clear weather and he and the forward observer he had found in the woods outside Bastogne could be an effective team. December 24th dawned bright and clear and it was just in time because the Germans were bringing in their Tiger tanks. Part 4 of 6.
It was a long recovery for Bill Cruickshank, who was wounded by machine gun fire in Italy. The hospital was in Atlantic City and, as soon as he was able, he pushed wheelchairs along the boardwalk to give more severely wounded men some recreation. This began a lifelong mission of helping others.
After what seemed like an eternity of training, Dick Arnold crossed the Atlantic to join the European campaign. On his very first day in combat, a ferocious artillery barrage pinned down the entire company. Although his group was sheltered behind a hill, he began digging in because he had been receiving some good advice. The other guys laughed at him. Then, the guns shifted their aim slightly. Part 1 of 3.
During the action at Riva Ridge near Pisa, a small group of Germans were captured by Bill Cruickshank and his men. They were dispatched to the rear and he didn't think any more about it. Years later, he was asked a question about that day which led to an extraordinary meeting.
The platoon was scattered after the disastrous attack on Sugarloaf Hill. Dick Whitaker and his buddy found a foxhole and proceeded to make it deeper. When he stopped and leaned over to light a cigarette, that's when the Japanese sniper took his shot.
The USS Pinkney was an evacuation transport. It was designed to deliver troops to an invasion site and then evacuate the wounded. The ship participated in three memorable landings, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Pharmacist's Mate Jack Wall recalls an episode that unfolded in the psych ward regarding a suicidal sailor.
Bill Cruickshank explains how the ski troops were used as a ruse to get the Nazis to deploy their troops in Norway, where they weren't really needed. Eventually, they were given a real task, pushing the enemy off the high mountain ridges in Italy.
Dick Arnold had been picked up by some MP's, who had a captain who was both zealous and cowardly. He was falsely accused of desertion but he was just waiting on some new footwear. Finally, with his new boots on his feet, he went looking for his unit, but they were gone. Part 3 of 3.
Jack Wall's final rank would have been one tick higher except for the one time he was late returning from liberty. He's just lucky he never got in trouble for the wild parties in the dental ward aboard ship. They had a monthly allotment of alcohol which never went to waste and once they decided to make some applejack.
After the war ended, B-24 mechanic Russell Vaudrey was prepping the planes to fly home when a monstrous typhoon hit. It lasted three days and, as they were repairing planes, a second typhoon swept in. Finally, the crews began flying what was left of their aircraft home.
Fate had brought him to a different unit and now fate found Dick Arnold on a railroad cut in the suburbs of Bastogne. A mortar shell killed the other men with him and he was all alone. He saw some footprints in the snow and it turned out to be a forward observer who had lost his radio operator. The two of them were now guarding the besieged city. Part 2 of 6.
At the train station where Bill Cruickshank was about to depart for training, he met a family of celebrities who were seeing two sons off to the same outfit. He didn't recognize the name but he would meet one of them later in Italy. The mountain training was arduous for the newly formed 10th Mountain Division, who used a lot of highly specialized gear.
What makes the difference in a soldier is that you don't quit. Dick Arnold had held on in deadly freezing weather to stop German tanks from advancing on Bastogne. The others in his ad hoc team had frozen to death and he began the long walk out of there. Part 6 of 6.