Edward E. Davis, also known as Earl Davis, was born in early 1916. He is currently 97 years old, and is at least the oldest living World War II veteran in Smyth County, Virginia. At age twenty five, on September 8, 1941, Davis was drafted into the United States Army and was sent for basic training in South Carolina. He was one of five children, all boys, and they all served in the United States military. His official title in the United States Army was to be a carrier, a mortar gunner and ammunition carrier. Davis was married to Mary Irene Tolliver Davis, who unfortunately passed away on March 29, 2005 at 82 years old.
While most of the world had enlisted armies and were fighting with one another, the United States of America was still claiming neutrality and isolationism during most of 1941. Because of this, Davis was required to go through basic training, but had yet to see any form of combat. However, on December 7, 1941, all of that was set to change. From American views, at 7:46AM on December 7, America was still considered neutral and not formally involved in the war. At 7:48AM, Bombing began at the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Imperial Japanese Navy had snuck in and bombed the majority of the United States fleet docked at the Hawaiian base. This officially ended the United States’ neutrality, and on December 8, 1941, The United States officially declared war on Japan.
Davis recalled the bombings of Pearl Harbor, but only has a moment that meant he was going to war. On the day of the bombing, Davis said he was peeling potatoes in the kitchen at his base when the announcement was made of the bombings. Davis also recalled how he had signed to be deployed to Panama, and was told he would receive a fifteen day furlough. However, once he took his leave of absence and returned, the 8th Division had already shipped out, with the exception of his company; 13th Infantry, Company M. He explained that during the months of January of 1942 and December of 1943, he had been shipped from base to base to perform various duties and trainings, but that there had not been too many significant memories of being in the United States.
One of the tasks set before him was prepping materiel to be shipped overseas to the other military currently active in battle. Following that duty, he was also to a military base located in Arizona to perform desert maneuvers. A desert maneuver is simply a task to acclimate your body to harsh weather conditions and terrain. He talked about how he could remember the heat, and by thinking about it he would get overheated inside. It would run about 120 degrees during the day time, and if you could not handle it, you were no longer fighting your enemy. You were in war with the climate. At night however, temperatures would drop tremendously and you had to figure out how to adjust. Also, out in the Arizona deserts, it was not uncommon to run into diamondback rattlers or deadly scorpions. Once Davis had...