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Generations of Heroes
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Ivan L. Wessel
Jack Jenkins
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Generations of Heroes
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Bob Woods
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— 6 —
Table of contents
Major Daniel Walter Davis ............................8
Joe and Ann Marmo ................................... 12
William “Bill” Harvey Craig .......................... 18
Orville Nicholson ......................................... 24
Burton Charles “Chuck” Vogel ................... 30
Charles “Abe” Thomas Abrahamson ......... 38
Will Davis II ................................................... 44
Join the Post Register in honoring
our nation’s heroes this November.
November 7-27
at the Post Register
333 Northgate Mile,
Idaho Falls, ID
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 6 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Multimedia Guide
As part of this multimedia event, visit
www.postregister.com for more
about our local veterans
• Slideshow: Check out a slideshow of more photos
contributed by local veterans from their service at
www.postregister.com.
• Video: Want to hear more from the veterans featured in
this publication? Watch their full interviews online at
www.postregister.com.
• eBooks: Get a copy of this publication and the Post
Register’s Our Heroes eBook on your Kindle by
purchasing them online at www.postregister.com.
Fairwinds Retirement Community
Thank you FOR YOUR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE
Loves our Veterans
3310 Valencia Drive • Idaho Falls, ID 83404
(208) 542-6200
www.leisurecare.com/fairwinds-sandcreek/
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 7 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Major Daniel Walter Davis
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 8 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
S
ept. 11, 1944 was one of the
worst days of Major Daniel
Walter Davis’ life. It started out
as a bright, beautiful sunny morning
and Davis was fying a P-51 plane in
formation with fellow pilots.
Te 19-year-old aviation cadet
was in a borrowed airplane because
his plane was shot beyond repair in a
recent encounter. Unfortunately, just
before the formation of American
planes reached the enemy planes, the
high blower went out on the bor-
rowed P-51. Tis made it difcult for
Davis to keep up.
At one point when the group was
fying over Germany, enemy planes
were spotted and the rest of the pilots
took of, leaving Davis behind with
his faulty high blower. It took him
about 20 seconds to push his plane
into full throttle, but eventually he
caught up with the rest of the group.
When he reached them, they were in
combat.
Davis was able to shoot a few
enemy planes down, but before long
he encountered a serious problem. He
was hit—fames shot up between his
legs, badly burning his face and body.
— 9 —
HOPE
Maj. Davis survived airplane
crash, imprisonment
Name: Major Daniel Walter Davis
Born: March 30, 1923
War: World War II
Branch of Service: Air Force
Entered Service: Aug. 27, 1940
Discharge Date: May 1, 1961
Rank Upon Discharge: Major
Decorations and Awards: Air Med-
al (2), Purple Heart (2), Oak Leaf
(2), Jump Wings, Prisoner of War
Medal, Good Conduct Medal,
National Defense Service Med-
al, American Defense Medal,
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious
Service Medal 4 Clusters, Air
Force Longevity Service Award,
American Campaign Med-
al, Asiatic/Pacifc Campaign
Medal, European/African/Mid-
dle Eastern Campaign Medal,
WWII Victory Medal, Occupa-
tion Medal with Berlin Device,
Humane Action Medal
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 9 10/25/13 5:58 PM
He knew he had to get out.
“I let the canopy go,” said Davis. “You have to duck your head because the
canopy dips a little when it comes by you and if your head is straight up it
will take your head right off. I didn’t hear an explosion; I just saw the fire.
Suddenly I just found myself outside of the airplane.”
Another American pilot reported that Davis’ plane exploded and re-
ported him killed in action. He didn’t see the parachute falling toward the
ground that carried the badly injured Davis.
The explosion of his plane above his head was so loud that Davis heard
nothing but silence as he headed toward the ground. Bullets whizzed by him
from below, but he wasn’t hit.
Davis intentionally positioned his body to land in what he thought was a
flat area next to some woods. He figured he would land and then run into
the woods so he wouldn’t be caught.
To his dismay, the spot where he landed slanted 45 degrees to the woods.
He said there was no way he could have made it. He landed right between
two sets of train tracks. When he stood up after gathering his chute, the
first thing Davis saw was a German soldier with his rifle pointed at him.
He turned and looked down the other side of the tracks to see another rifle
pointed in his direction.
The soldiers shouted some words in German, which Davis did not un-
derstand.
“Rechts, Rechts!” Tey shoved their guns against his neck and waist.
Tey were trying to tell Davis to turn to his right, but because he didn’t un-
derstand them, he took a few steps lef. One soldier raised his gun to shoot, but
Davis threw his hands up in the air and allowed them to guide him to the right.
Te following day Davis’ status was amended to missing in action since his
body had not been found. Tirty days later, the Germans reported his name,
rank and serial number to the Americans as a prisoner of war (POW).
Davis joined hundreds of others at a German camp. Tey were allotted
— 10 —
This painting by Brian Call depicts Maj. Daniel Davis tipping his wing to a fellow pilot he was escorting home.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 10 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 11 —
about 1,200 calories of slop per day and Davis only got two baths during the 8.5
months he was held prisoner.
Te Red Cross sent the POWs boxes of food that were meant to last one pris-
oner a whole week, but most of the time they were taken apart and mostly eaten
by the time they reached the prisoners. Afer a while, the men were completely
cut of from the Red Cross packages and only allotted their daily slop. Davis
said he once found a clump of hair in his stew.
At some points the prisoners were allowed a few pieces of chocolate and cig-
arettes. Davis didn’t smoke, and so he traded all the cigarettes he got for choc-
olate. Te chocolate pieces were high in calories and very, very dark chocolate.
He stored some of them for later and tried to pace himself so he wouldn’t starve.
Davis said the chocolate was dif cult to eat because it was so bitter, but when
you are in starvation mode you don’t really care. Now he prefers sweet candy
bars like Milky Ways, which are his favorite.
Davis was frst liberated by Russian soldiers who imprisoned him in their camps.
Te rescued prisoners were given wine, food and clean clothes. Davis said
some of the men actually died from overeating because their stomachs weren’t
used to having all that food.
Davis was of cially liberated by Americans on May 17, 1945.
Tat December, Davis fnally returned home to Payette, Idaho. His twin
brother, who also served in the military, was going out with his girl one night
and told Davis that if he could fnd someone to be his date he could come along.
Later that day, Davis was walking with his friend, Walt, and they saw a young
woman walking by in a green Marine uniform. Davis asked his friend if he rec-
ognized her and he said “Oh, that is Mickey Rhoades. You went to school with
her sister, Lela.”
Davis ran after Mickey and asked her if she wanted to come on a double
date with him. She said she couldn’t go because she had already made plans
with her friend.
Davis followed her to the cofee shop where Mickey was meeting her friend.
Te friend ran toward Mickey and showed her a ring on her lef hand. She an-
nounced that she was engaged and that she wouldn’t be able to spend time with
Mickey that night.
Without missing a beat, Davis said “ So, how about that date?”
Mickey went on the date, and three days later Davis proposed.
Te couple was married for 66 and a half years until Mickey passed away just
over a year ago. Davis and Mickey have three daughters who also served in the
military at various times.
“I married a good woman and if you have a good woman, you have a good
life,” said Davis. “I was sure blessed.”
Davis was in the USAF until his twin brother passed away in a car accident in
1961. He returned home only to join the FAA later on. He was back to his love
of fying when he became the airspace system inspection pilot. Later he also
became a procedure specialist.
Davis and his family traveled to many diferent countries during his time in the
FAA including Japan and Saudi Arabia. He of cially retired in 1994. ■
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 11 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Joe and Ann Marmo
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 12 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 13 —
By Desirai Schild
For Generations of Heroes
J
oe and Ann Marmo were at
the movies when the film
stopped and someone an-
nounced the A-bomb had been
dropped on Japan, signaling the
end of WWII.
Of course, they were in sep-
arate theaters in separate towns
and had never met at the time.
Joe, an Air Force navigator, was
stationed in Kearney, Neb. And
Ann Rink was a Nurse Cadet at
Rochester General Hospital in
Rochester, N.Y.
“I was attending “Rhapsody
in Blue,” Joe, 88, of Idaho Falls,
said. “They stopped the film and
somebody came out and told us
that a bomb had been dropped
and the war was probably over.
We all just sat there in shock,
in total silence. Nobody could
comprehend that one bomb could
end that war. Of course, we didn’t
know about that kind of bomb.”
Ann, 86, doesn’t remember
what movie she was attending.
“I remember how happy and
thrilled everyone was in our little
town,” she said. “We all ran out
FATE
World War II brings
couple together
Name: Joe Marmo
Born: June 27, 1925
War: World War II
Branch of Service: Air Force
Entered Service: Sept. 1943
Discharge Date: March 1946
Rank Upon Discharge:
Flight offcer
Name: Ann Marmo
Born: May 21, 1927
War: World War II
Branch of Service: Army
Rank Upon Discharge:
Nurse cadet
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 13 10/25/13 5:58 PM
into the streets cheering. It had been a tough go and many boys from our
town had gone to war. I look at kids that age now and can’t imagine how
they could fight a war.”
Joe was still a teenager when he enlisted in the Air Force.
“I was going to be drafted anyway — everybody was being drafted —
so I decided to choose the branch I wanted,” he said. “I was required to
have two years of college and pass the Air Force exam. I didn’t qualify
because I was still in high school.”
High casualties in the Air Force assault on Germany made it necessary
to bend the rules.
“They needed men so badly that they waived the college rule,” Joe
said. “All I had to do was pass the entrance exam. I entered the Air Force
in September, 1943 and served until March, 1946.”
Intense training began.
“I immediately went to Miami Beach to take months of physical and
mental tests to determine if I was qualified to be a pilot, navigator or
bombardier,” he said. “To qualify, you needed scores in the range of
five to nine. Below five, you washed out. I qualified in all three areas
with scores of seven, seven and seven. I immediately went to navigation
school at Williamsport Penn., for physical and mental training.”
Eventually, Joe was sent to the Hondo, Texas Airbase.
“I earned my navigation wings in December 1944,” he said. “I was as-
signed to Drew Field in Tampa, Fla., to be a navigator in the B-17 flying
fortress aircraft.”
The B-17 training prepared Joe and his fellow airmen to bomb Germa-
ny from one of the many airfields in England.
“I was assigned the Eighth Air force,” Joe said. “The first flyboys
assigned to England had an about 25 percent survival rate. We were told
how lucky our group was because we had a 40 percent survival rate.”
Even training was fraught with danger.
“The worst incident occurred when we were flying in close formation
with our B-17 fortress,” Joe said. “Something went wrong with the lead
aircraft and it took a sudden nose dive and crashed into another B-17. I
watched the bodies and airplane fly apart by our aircraft.”
The incident had a profound impact.
“During the debriefing, I couldn’t stop shaking,” Joe said.
Fate intervened as Joe was being sent out to England.
“Just before we were to make our trip to England we were put on hold
because it appeared Germany would surrender,” he said. “Eventually, I
was assigned to the 20th Air Force and selected to train as a navigator on
the B-29 super fortress whose task was to bomb Japan from some of the
Pacific airfields.”
After completing training at Barksdale Air Force Base in Baton Rouge,
La., Joe was sent to Kearney, Neb., to pick up a combat ready B-29. The in-
structions were to fly to one of the Pacific Island’s air bases, such as Saipan,
— 14 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 14 10/25/13 5:58 PM
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THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT • THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT • THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT • THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT • THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT
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GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 15 10/25/13 5:58 PM
to launch a bombing assault on Japan.
“The night before I was supposed to
leave, I went to see “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Joe said. “They stopped the movie and
told us about the bomb and that all of
us were to report on the flight line the
next day at 4 p.m. for our new assign-
ments. We were to bring all our belong-
ing which were contained in one duffel
bag.”
It didn’t seem strange that no one
was told where they were going.
“There was a saying, ‘A loose lip can
sink a ship,” Joe said. “We were never
told where we were going to prevent
anyone from finding out the Air Force
plans.”
Joe ended up in Davis Monthon
Field in Tucson, Ariz., where over-
crowding put him in the Women’s
Corps barracks for 30 days. He was
sent to Santa Ana, Calif. for discharge.
“Me and some friends drove there,”
Joe said. “We arrived two days late and
the discharge center was shut down.”
As they waited 30 days for further
instructions, they rented an apartment
at Hollywood and Vine.
“Tickets to great shows were set
aside for the military so I got to see
great stars like Sinatra, Bob Hope and
Red Skelton. Finally, I was assigned
to Fort Devens near Boston, Mass. for
final discharge in March 1946.”
Meanwhile, Ann had entered the
WWII Cadet Nurse Program at Roch-
ester, N.Y.
“Everyone was very patriotic back
then,” Ann said. “Serving our coun-
try was the right thing to do. During
the war, people dug up their yards to
plant victory gardens. We lived with
rationing, everything from gasoline to
butter. We were children of the depres-
sion. We were raised that when the
— 16 —
It had been
a tough go
and many
boys from
our town
had gone to
war. I look
at kids that
age now
and can’t
imagine how
they could
fight a war.”
— Ann Marmo
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 16 10/25/13 5:58 PM
soles of our shoes wore out, we put cardboard in them to fill the holes.”
Ann said the roles of women changed drastically with the war, too.
“So many men were gone so the women took over the jobs,” she said.
“That was the beginning for the women not just staying home being
wives and mothers.”
Nearly all Ann’s nurse training was financed by the government. If the
war had not ended before she graduated, she would have been required
to serve in a nursing capacity for the duration. Since it did end, Ann got
a scholarship to complete her training at the School of Public Health at
the University of Michigan. She became a civilian nurse and donated her
uniform to the Rochester General Hospital Museum.
That’s where she met Joe.
“I want to say that the GI Bill changed service men’s lives for the bet-
ter,” he said. “I’d never have been able to afford college without it.”
Joe worked as a dishwasher while attending the School of Engineering.
“I told a fellow I worked with that I had to meet that woman out there
that smiled all the time,” Joe said. “I was back there sweating and dirty
and he brought her back to meet me.”
Sweaty or not, Ann was impressed.
“It was love at first sight,” she said.
They have been married for 64 years, have three adult children and six
grandchildren.
Joe’s engineering degree took them first to Colorado and eventually to
Idaho Falls in 1963. Ann had no trouble finding employment wherever
they went.
“When I asked about a job here in Idaho Falls, they asked if I could
start the next day,” she said.
Ann worked at Sacred Heart and Riverview hospitals before Eastern
Idaho Regional Medical Center. She logged 60 years as a nurse before
retiring on her 80th birthday.
Joe brought his athletic abilities as a championship college hockey
and baseball player to Idaho Falls by forming both the first golf leagues
and the first youth hockey league to Idaho Falls. The Joe Marmo/Wayne
Lehto rink in Idaho Falls was named in his honor.
Both Marmos say they are concerned for the lack of care and oppor-
tunity today’s veterans are given. They also are concerned for the lack of
respect for elected officials.
“I used to tell our neighbor boy that our president deserved respect
whether he agreed with him or not — you respected the office,” Joe said.
“Now, 50 years later, he tells me he finally understands what I meant.”
Both feel fortunate to have served their country and believe that is
what forged their successful careers and their life together.
“The war certainly brought us together in a way that would have never
happened without it,” Joe said. “I told everybody Ann was my own Flor-
ence Nightingale. And, she still is.” ■
— 17 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 17 10/25/13 5:58 PM
William “Bill” Harvey Craig
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 18 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
W
illiam “Bill” Harvey Craig
was more nervous about
drowning than getting
shot when he enlisted in the Navy
Aug. 12, 1950, early in the Korean
War.
Luckily for Craig, his service in
the Navy involved more airplanes
than ships. He was a crewmember
on the planes and ran the turrets
and radar. Before that he was a
member of the National Guard for
two years in Montana.
“I wanted to get into aviation
and the National Guard didn’t have
anything like that,” said Craig.
The longest Craig ever spent on a
ship during his time in the Navy was
the two-week trip on a troop ship
from the San Francisco receiving
station to Tokyo.
Despite his dislike for ships, he
didn’t get sick like many of the men
on board. He said many of them
couldn’t eat and if they did their
meals often came back to slosh up
Name: William “Bill” Harvey Craig
Born: August 15, 1930 in Lowell,
Neb.
War: The Korean War
Branch of Service: Navy
Date Entered Service: Aug. 12, 1950
Discharge Date: May 13, 1954
Rank Upon Discharge: Aviation
Boatswain’s Mate Striker
Decorations and Awards: United
Nations Medal, Korean War
Medal with two Bronze Stars,
Presidential Unit Citation, Med-
al From the President of South
Korea, Good Conduct Medal,
Navy Occupation Medal
close
calls
Craig had multiple close
encounters with death
— 19 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 19 10/25/13 5:58 PM
and down the hallways of the ship.
Craig still has his meal card in his memory book from his trip to Tokyo.
He is not missing a single punch on his card.
“I never missed a meal,” he said.
Craig explained that the permanent personnel on the ship were able to
eat first and get the best food when it was nice and hot. One man left his
engineering badge on his desk and Craig picked it up and pinned it to his
shirt.
“I got great food for the rest of that trip, two weeks to Tokyo!” he said.
Craig spent a total of three years, four months and 17 days overseas.
One of his most frightening experiences was when his plane was shot
down in the spring of 1952, but the experience also turned out to be a mira-
cle for everyone on board.
Casey Archibald/carchibald@postregister.com
This is a model of the airplane Bill Craig was in during most of his time in the Navy. He was a gunner in
the rear turret of the plane. It was shot down in the spring of 1952.
— 20 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 20 10/25/13 5:58 PM
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The plane was coming back to the Iwakuni Air Force Base in Japan after
embarking on an anti-submarine control mission. The plane was at 12,000
feet when several Russian-built MiGs coming from China suddenly ap-
peared and began shooting at Craig and the rest of the crew in their air-
plane.
The plane went down and was completely covered in hundreds of bullet
holes. Miraculously, no one in the plane was hurt and the bullets missed the
gas tanks and engines so there was no chance of the plane blowing up.
Craig tried to shoot back at the enemy planes but there were too many
and they were diving at Craig and his crew too quickly.
Craig said he never feared getting hit by a bullet, but he was terrified of
drowning. He said he ran from the back of the plane to the front, crawling
over the other men in the plane who laughed at how frantic he was to get
out.
He said to the pilot of the plane, “All the bullets missed me but if you
think I am drowning in here you’re crazy!”
The plane was close enough to the base that the pilot was able to get the
crew to safety before the plane completely filled with water.
“Every time you go out on a mission, you are always just hoping that you
are going to make it back from a flight,” said Craig.
The experience in Japan wasn’t the only close call that Craig had. He
said there were times when he felt like someone from above was looking
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 21 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 22 —
out for him.
One such moment occurred during
the last six months of his service,
when he was in Kodiak, Alaska. He
was transferred there in February of
1953.
One morning he was supposed to
go out on a flight, but he had a cold.
“They won’t let you fly with a cold
because of sinuses,” Craig explained.
While the plane was out, its gas
line broke and a spark caused a freak
accident where the plane blew up and
killed everyone inside. The plane was
just outside of Dutch Harbor.
“I hated it; I lost a lot of friends.
I was supposed to be on that plane,
but someone was looking out for me,”
said Craig.
Craig finished his service without
getting injured. He said he thinks it
was his bullheadedness that got him
through.
“I am bulletproof,” said Craig. “At
least that’s what you think when you
are 19 years old. I thought, ‘I am bul-
letproof and nothing can happen to
me.’ I never thought about not com-
ing back. I always knew I was coming
home, I had too many things to do.”
When he got home, Craig got
started on his list of things he want-
ed to accomplish. He had a variety
of different jobs and he is a lifetime
member of Veterans of Foreign Wars
and the American Legion.
“I feel good about having done my
time and served my country,” said
Craig. “I didn’t have a whole lot as far
as big things happening to me, but I
did what I had to do. That’s all you
can do. If you come out of there alive
you are home free because there are
so many guys who didn’t make it. I
was one of the lucky ones.” ■
I thought,
‘I am
bulletproof
and nothing
can happen
to me.’ I
never thought
about not
coming back.
I always knew
I was coming
home, I had
too many
things to do.”
— Bill Craig
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 22 10/25/13 5:58 PM
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This photo shows Bill Craig’s airplane after it was shot
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GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 23 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Orville Nicholson
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 24 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
O
rville Nicholson doesn’t re-
member how he earned his
bronze star. In fact, he lost
most of his memories of his time
in the service due to a 2006 brain
surgery when he was 80 years old.
Not only has he been robbed of
his memories, but almost all of
his memorabilia from his time of
service was stolen.
As a veteran of both World War
II and the Korean War, the hun-
dreds of memories and experienc-
es relating to Nicholson’s military
service have been diminished to a
few flashes and moments that he
has to work hard to recall.
Lucky for Nicholson, his wife
Rea has been able to fill in some
of the blanks, but any stories he
didn’t tell are gone forever.
“Of course, a lot of those things
I wanted to forget,” Nicholson
said.
Nicholson was first drafted into
the army in 1944. His best score
in basic training was shooting
machine guns, so he became a
machine gunner during his time in
World War II.
“I just carried the tripod in ac-
tion and we had a guy that carried
Name: Orville Nicholson
Born: January 6, 1926
War: WWII & Korea
Branch of Service: Army
Date Entered Service (WWII):
1944
Discharge Date (WWII): 1946
Date Entered Service (Korean
War): 1950
Discharge Date (Korean War):
1952
Decorations: Bronze Star
Flashes
Surgery leaves two-war vet
with only snippets of memory
— 25 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 25 10/25/13 5:58 PM
a heavy gun and four or five ammo carriers,” said Nicholson.
Nicholson was part of the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines during
World War II. During this particular battle American and Filipino guer-
rilla forces invaded the Gulf of Leyte and fought against the Imperial
Japanese Army. The battle lasted from Oct. 20 to Dec. 31, 1944 and it
was the first time Japanese military members used kamikaze pilots.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but right out in the harbor there was an
aircraft carrier that was supposed to back us up,” said Nicholson. “They
crashed three planes into it and they killed about three hundred men.”
Leyte was one of the bloodiest battles during the war, but under
General Douglas MacArthur the Americans had a victory which lead to
the recapture of the Philippines from the Japanese and deprived them of
some of their best warships.
Later on, Nicholson was part of the Battle of Mindanao on another
island in the Philippines. During the battle, American forces again allied
with Filipino guerrillas against the Japanese and it lasted from March 10
— 26 —
Orville Nicholson. (Submitted photo)
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 26 10/25/13 5:58 PM
to Aug. 15, 1945. The battle was an essential part of the liberation of the
Philippines.
While Nicholson and his fellow troops were training in Mindanao for
their invasion of Japan, he contracted hepatitis and malaria. While he
was in the hospital, he looked over and was surprised to see one of his
dear friends who he thought was killed during battle. His friend had also
contracted malaria, but was otherwise well.
“[Orville] had to go to the hospital until he was better and then they
sent him right back into battle as soon as he was well enough,” said Rea.
Even after he was discharged from the army, Nicholson suffered from
malaria attacks for several years.
“You get cold chills and hot chills, and a fever. It is terrible,” he said.
Nicholson explained that for the invasion of Tokyo, millions of sol-
diers and allies joined forces. Nicholson was supposed to be in the 40th
infantry division to hit south of Tokyo, but the invasion never happened.
The Americans dropped two bombs and the Japanese surrendered,
bringing the war to an end.
“In Japanese culture, if they didn’t have guns to fight with they had
charge sticks and anything they could pick up to fight with,” said Nich-
olson. “I know if that invasion would have come off we would have had
to kill a lot of men, women, and children. It panned out pretty well for
Americans for that particular invasion. We would have lost thousands of
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 27 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Americans and I would have been
one of them, I know that.”
When Nicholson got out of World
War II he was asked to join the
active reserve. He declined, but said
he would join the inactive reserve.
On Rea’s 25th birthday, and also
the first day of the Korean War in
1950, Orville was called back to
service. He was the first call out from
Idaho.
Because of his skill set, Nicholson
was chosen to go to Korea as part of
the Army of Occupation and help to
set up a government there. Luckily
for Nicholson and his family, he was
sent into an office job for the most
part and was in a lot less danger
than he was in World War II.
This is a memory that is very
clear for Nicholson.
“At that time it was a capitol
building, you go up the main steps
and the first door on the right and
my desk was the first one, and then
you go on back to the room and
there were the generals and colo-
nels,” he explained.
Nicholson said the president of
Korea, Sigmund Rhee, came by two
or three times a week to go in and
talk to the general and Nicholson
often got to see him in passing.
Even Nicholson’s memories from
the wars that are still in tact are
fuzzy, simply because of the nature
of war, he explained.
“When you are in the war you
can’t keep one day from another,”
said Nicholson. “It all kind of blends
together; you don’t have any Sun-
days.”
Once Nicholson came home in
1952, he and his wife started their
life at Sunny Bar Ranch in Howe,
— 28 —
“When
you are in
the war
you can’t
keep one
day from
another.
It all kind
of blends
together;
you don’t
have any
Sundays.”
— Orville Nicholson
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 28 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 29 —
Idaho. There they lived at the base of a mountain in a little log house
with no well, insulation or electricity.
Together Nicholson and Rea harnessed power from three mountain
streams and with a lot of time and effort, developed a method to gener-
ate hydro-power.
The Nicholsons irrigated 1,100 acres and planted grain and hay as well
as managed a few hundred dairy cows. They sold their power to major
power companies and by doing so turned a barren land into a thriving
and beautiful area of Idaho.
The brain surgery that erased many of Nicholson’s military memo-
ries was due to Trigeminal neuralgia, which is a painful condition that
caused him chronic headaches. He first started getting the headaches
during his time farming in Howe.
The pain is excruciating and Nicholson said it is also known as “sui-
cide pain.” After his surgery in 2006 he was relieved of the pain, but
deprived of many valuable memories.
A peak in the Lemhi Range was named after Orville for his pioneering
efforts in Howe. It is called Nicholson Peak and represents a man who
served his country in a countless number of ways throughout his life-
time. ■
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 29 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Burton Charles “Chuck” Vogel
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 30 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
C
huck and Marlene were more
than childhood sweethearts.
They were both born in 1941,
their parents were long-time friends,
they both go by their middle names
and they can’t ever remember not
knowing one another.
Chuck said his earliest memory
of Marlene is when they were both
4 or 5 years old. She would let him
sit on her stool that she used to milk
her cow and tell him stories. Chuck
said one of her favorites was the one
about the porcupine that climbed a
cherry tree on her family’s land and
started throwing apples at her dad.
Chuck knew better than to believe
the stories.
Their growing up years were
filled with dates, good times and
hard work. Chuck remembers a
time when he was supposed to
pick her up for a date but he was
stuck at home with no transpor-
tation. He was late, but rode his
horse for six miles to her house.
She forgave him.
They went to different high
schools, so they attended double
proms.
“Double the proms meant double
Sacrifice
Soldiers aren’t the only ones
to make sacrifces during war
— 31 —
Name: Burton Charles
“Chuck” Vogel
Born: August 2, 1941 in Cam-
bridge, Idaho
War: Vietnam War
Branch of Service: Marine
Corps
Date Entered Service: Novem-
ber 1966
Discharge Date: December
1967
Rank Upon Discharge:
Sergeant
Decorations and Awards: Two
Purple Heart Awards, Viet-
namese Cross of Gallantry
with Bronze
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 31 10/25/13 5:58 PM
the corsages,” said Chuck. “It was hard to always pick a corsage that matched
her beauty.”
On Jan. 28, 1961 Chuck and Marlene became Mr. and Mrs. Vogel. The
two went to Sun Valley for a three-day honeymoon and Chuck remembers
walking into a shop where every item for sale would have cost more money
than he had in his pocket. There were signs all over the store that read “You
break it, you pay for it.”
“Marlene was picking everything up to look it over. I couldn’t get her out
of there soon enough,” Chuck joked.
The Vogels were married for five years when Chuck was drafted into the
Marine Corps for the Vietnam War. He officially entered the service in No-
vember of 1966. Chuck said he hardly knew one branch of service from the
other when he was first drafted.
When Chuck started his training in North Carolina, Marlene and another
Marine’s wife drove across the country to be with their husbands. Before
he was drafted, Chuck was making a good wage, but during his training he
made a mere $87.50 a month.
Chuck said that one month the Marines “fouled up his pay” and he didn’t
get paid for an entire month. Before long, the Vogels were down to a jar of
pickles, which they lived off of for more than a week until Marlene found a
job at the USO.
Marlene worked 10 or 12 hour days and then came home to hand wash
and press Chuck’s uniforms on their little table. She also helped him find a
job maintaining and cleaning the USO building when he wasn’t on duty.
— 32 —
Submitted photos
Above is a photo Chuck Vogel sent to his wife Marlene while
he was overseas. They wrote to each other every day.
Chuck and Marlene Vogel.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 32 10/25/13 5:58 PM
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In December of 1966, Chuck left Marlene behind and embarked on his
journey to Vietnam, not knowing if he would return in one piece. He was
there for 13 months and he said it was the longest time they were apart in
their entire lives.
“Those [left behind] are the people it’s hardest on,” said Chuck. “Back
then there weren’t any [forms of ] instant communication or anything. [Mar-
lene] had to stay home. We were buying two houses and a new car. She had
to stay home and fix all of that by herself.”
Chuck and Marlene wrote each other every day, and sometimes multiple
times a day. Chuck said he tried to take some pictures for her as well, but
the fog in the air in Vietnam made it difficult. A friend managed to capture
a photo of Chuck holding a sign that said “I love you” that he then sent to
his wife.
“[Marlene’s] letters didn’t come in daily because I was in the field and
things, but they were sure good when I got them,” said Chuck. “They really
kept me going when I got them. I got pretty sassy without my letters.”
Chuck was a combat engineer and some of his duties included sweeping
for mines and booby traps. “I love blowing things up,” he said.
During his time of service, Chuck received two purple hearts. One oc-
curred when he was sitting on the back of a tank and the driver ran over a
mine right where Chuck was sitting.
“The only sensation I had was rolling off the back of the tank,” said
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 33 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Chuck. “There was a tank behind us
and I didn’t want 52 tons rolling over
me. When I got up I was about 20 feet
off to the side and I had lost every-
thing—my rifle and my demo bag flew
clear off of my head and my flak jacket
was all laid out between there.”
Chuck was left with a concussion
and damaged eardrums after the expe-
rience, but he didn’t let that stop him
from finishing the operation. Luckily
for Chuck, his injuries healed well.
“My hearing seems to be pretty
good,” he said. “It seemed like when I
came home it was a little hard to hear
but I think it was from all of the ex-
plosions and everything. It rattled my
eardrums quite a bit.”
Chuck’s second purple heart was
earned when his team was ambushed.
A mortar round went off leaving
Chuck with a piece of shrapnel stuck
in his shoulder. A chopper tried to
come in and rescue the crew but it was
too heavily fired upon to land.
“We ended up riding an Amtrak
out,” said Chuck. “It was midnight
before we got [to safety] and then it
was longer to the naval hospital. I
didn’t want to put anyone in danger so
I dressed the wound myself. It’s kind
of hard to tie [a bandage] around your
shoulder. Basically I would just wrap
it around and when I bled through I
wrapped it again.”
When Chuck got to the hospital
doctors put a tube in the wound and
drained it. He said it was amazing
how much of his shirt was stuck in the
wound with the shrapnel. He stayed
for three days at naval support and
was then transported to the hospital
ship where he continued to be treated.
The piece of shrapnel is still in Chuck’s
shoulder today.
The whole
time was
hard on her.
It seems to
me that it is
as hard on
the ones left
behind as
it is on the
ones who
leave.
— Chuck Vogel
— 34 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 34 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 35 —
When Chuck was on the hospital ship, Marlene’s father died back home
and he didn’t get word of it for 21 days.
“I felt so bad that I wasn’t there to help her,” said Chuck. “I cannot say
enough about this time and what she went though. The next time someone
says to thank a vet, tell them not to forget about what the veterans’ families
go through. I knew I was okay, but not knowing is so hard for family.”
Chuck returned home between Christmas and New Years of 1967. He said
at first, it felt like he and his wife were strangers and they had to get used to
each other again.
On the third night that Chuck was home, Marlene woke him up and
asked, “Would you still love me if I was bald?” Chuck was groggy, but re-
plied, “Yeah.”
Marlene pulled a wiglet out of her hair that she had been keeping on for
three days so Chuck wouldn’t see the bald spot on the back of her head. She
had skin cancer removed while her husband was away and had lost a fair
amount of hair.
“When she [pulled off the wiglet] my eyes about popped out of my head,”
said Chuck. “I woke up for sure. She told me about the cancer when I was
away but she didn’t tell me she lost some of her hair. I still thought she was
beautiful.”
Chuck explained that he wouldn’t have had the motivation or strength
to keep going if it wasn’t for the support of his wife. He said he was sorry
he couldn’t be there for her when she went through struggles like her skin
Submitted photo
Chuck Vogel poses with friends on a hospital ship where he was recovering from a
shrapnel wound.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 35 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 36 —
Submitted photo
Marlene and Chuck Vogel pose for a photo.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 36 10/25/13 5:58 PM
The Staff at Carpet One
would like to say
THANK YOU
to All U.S.
Veterans.
405 W. 17th St., Idaho Falls, ID
(208) 529-1951
cancer and the death of her father while he was away.
“The whole time was hard on her,” said Chuck. “It seems to me that it is
as hard on the ones left behind as it is on the ones who leave. I had a good
support system.”
Chuck explained that though being a part of the Vietnam War is not
something he is ashamed of, he also said it is something that shouldn’t be
glorified either. He said it is the families that should be thanked and recog-
nized for their sacrifices.
Shortly after Chuck returned from Vietnam, his wife gave birth to their
daughter in October of 1968. Chuck said their life together has been full and
happy, but it was not without struggle.
Their home burned to the ground and Chuck had to spend his weekends
rebuilding it from the ground up when his daughter was only three months
old. During the reconstruction, Chuck injured his knee and he had to have
surgery. He said that Marlene drove on the slick, snow-covered roads with
their new baby to comfort him in the hospital.
This January, the Vogels will celebrate their 53rd anniversary.
“On January 28, 2001 I had a conference in Las Vegas where we renewed
our wedding vows celebrating 40 years. On our 50th we had a big party in
Boise and I told Marlene if we can make it to our 60th I would marry her
again because [of all the] years she has always been there for me.” ■
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 37 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Charles “Abe” Thomas Abrahamson
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 38 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
C
harles “Abe” Abrahamson has been
dropped from high-altitude air-
planes into the middle of dark oceans,
sent on treks through jungles and
swamps and left in the middle of no-
where to camouflage himself in rough
terrain.
As a Marine Sniper, his rifle scores
were top-notch, reaching a high score
of 249/250. But shooting accuracy is
only a small part of being a Marine
Sniper.
“One thing that people don’t un-
derstand about being a sniper is that
shooting is only about 2 percent of it,”
said Abrahamson. “The rest is all field
craft because when you are out there,
you are alone. It is just you and another
guy and you have to survive. You have
to build your hides, you have to get
from point A to point B and then to
point C to get out of there. You have
to know what kind of terrain you are
going to be in because you have to tra-
verse that terrain without being seen.”
Snipers and their spotters were ex-
pected to create all of their own cam-
ouflage. They often created ghillie suits
that resemble heavy foliage to match
the terrain of the mission they were
assigned to.
Crosshairs
Marine sniper overcame tough
conditions to complete missions
— 39 —
Name: Charles “Abe” Thomas
Abrahamson
Born: 1969 in Roswell, New
Mexico
War: The Gulf War
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Date Entered Service: 1987
Decorations and Awards:
Bronze Star with a Combat
V, Navy Accommodation
Medal with a Combat V,
Congressional Medal of
Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star,
Bronze Star, Army Accom-
modation Medal, Navy
Achievement Medal, Army
Achievement Medal, Army
Good Conduct, National
Defense, Southwest Service
Asia, Kuwait Liberation Med-
al (two)
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 39 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 40 —
“If you are in an urban setting you would have [a suit] that is a little dif-
ferent than if you were in a jungle setting or a desert setting,” said Abraham-
son. “Each one takes almost 50 hours to build if you do it right. You have to
tie all your burlap and shred it and it’s a lot of work. You have to make sure
you are dying or bleaching [the material] the right colors.”
Before heading out to a mission, Abrahamson and his spotter added live
vegetation to the suits in order to better match the area they were in. Tey also
painted their hands, faces and the ends of their rifes. Tey used scope covers
that were the color of the terrain to avoid the sun refecting of the metal and
attracting attention. Abrahamson said they also had to be careful if they made a
shot to make sure the brass casing didn’t refect and reveal their hiding place.
Abrahamson was good at what he did, but it didn’t make taking lives easy.
“The hardest part with my job is looking through the crosshairs and
knowing that when you feel the recoil in your shoulder that you are taking
a human being’s life,” said Abrahamson. “There are a lot of things that go
through your mind. There are a lot of thoughts about the actions you take.”
The sniper and his spotter were a team throughout all of his time in the
service and became very close. One way they were able to deal with the psy-
chological hardships of their jobs was to talk things out with each other.
“When we went on a mission, what happened out there it was done and
over with,” said Abrahamson. “It was nothing personal, it was just our job
and that’s the way we both looked at it. It is us or them. I have accepted that
and I am okay with it.”
Abrahamson explained that targets generally include people on the
opposing side that are officers, people giving orders, bomb makers, those
working for a primary target or those relaying messages about the American
troops to their leaders. Often Abrahamson and his spotter would watch a
group for six or seven hours to determine who the leaders were.
“By the time you spend that much time watching a group you can figure
out almost anything you want about them,” he said.
In general, Marine Snipers try to take out their targets at a range between
300 and 1,500 yards. However, one of Abrahamson’s hardest experiences was
when he and his spotter were in Khafji — a town on the boarder of Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait — when the Iraqis invaded. They were training and do-
ing some firing missions there but when the town was invaded Abrahamson
had to make a shot at 15 inches.
“It got close and personal that day,” he said.
Abrahamson and his spotter, who is from Illinois, still remain good
friends and take time to visit one another despite the distance.
“It is funny how much you know about each other,” said Abrahamson. “I
still remember his birth date, his social security number, everything about
him because he would have to go sign for stuff for me or I would have to go
sign stuff for him.”
Throughout his whole time in the service, Abrahamson served in Forts-
dale, Okla.; Quantico, Virg.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Coronado Island, Calif.;
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 40 10/25/13 5:58 PM
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Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Twentynine Palms, Calif.; the Philippines, Okina-
wa, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Israel, Australia, Hawaii,
South America, South Africa, and England.
While Abrahamson and his spotter were in Saudi Arabia they ran a total
of 54 missions and were also active in the four-day ground war.
During much of their time in the field, sniper teams lived in a hole in the
ground that was 20 feet by 20 feet and 10 feet deep. At one point, Abraham-
son, his spotter and another sniper team of two lived there for five months
straight.
“We are more or less observers, which is why we had to be so far forward
from the rest of the troops and in the ground,” said Abrahamson. “We are
watching the enemy, trying to see what they are doing, figuring out how
they operate. We are kind of like a reconnaissance team. We are feeding all
that information back to our bosses and our upper echelons so they can
decide, when the day comes, where to attack.”
The sniper teams are responsible to alert the other troops if they see any
movement from the other side. They also let their superiors know what
kind of terrain is ahead and what kind of camouflage the troops will need.
Abrahamson and his fellow sniper team members had air assets and could
call for Marine Air, Air Force Air, Navy Air or helicopters to come in and
eliminate any threats.
Abrahamson’s “hole” was about seven miles south of the Kuwait border in
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 41 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Saudi Arabia. He said inside there were
thousands of flies that surrounded each
of the men 24 hours a day. The men were
given what they called a water bowl,
which held 500 gallons of fluid. He said
they added bleach to the water to reduce
the amount of bacteria.
“We used anything we could to make
it better,” said Abrahamson. “We used
things like Kool-Aid packets or teas
because the water was so bad. We were
always hot and sweating and thirsty so
we had to drink six or seven canteens of
that nasty water every day.”
Abrahamson’s mother sent the men
drink packets and snacks as often as she
could. He said he was grateful for her
packages because it was rare they ever
had a hot meal. They ate a lot of MREs
and Abrahamson said in the 80s and 90s
they weren’t good.
Most of the time, the men on the sniper
teams had to wash themselves the best
they could with a bucket of water. Abraha-
mson said he was only able to take four or
fve showers in seven months.
Despite the rough conditions, Abra-
hamson said he built an irreplaceable
camaraderie with the people he met and
worked with during his time of service.
“My whole time in service has been
memorable,” he said. “The kind of ca-
maraderie that is built in the service is
something only service people can have.
Sure, you have your buddies at work and
things like that, but they will never go
through some of the things that service
people have gone through.”
Abrahamson said that he believes all
American males should spend time in
the military because it is something that
can help them to grow up and mature.
Abrahamson’s career in the military
started early. When he was in high
school he and his best friend knew they
— 42 —
“My whole
time in
service
has been
memorable.
The kind of
camaraderie
that is
built in the
service is
something
only service
people can
have.
— Charles
Abrahamson
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 42 10/25/13 5:58 PM
were destined for the military. The Army Reserves were the only ones that
would talk to them because of their age. They signed up with parental sig-
natures when they were sophomores in high school and went to boot camp
in their junior and senior years. Abrahamson officially entered the Army
Reserves in Idaho in 1987.
The road to becoming a Marine Sniper is very prestigious, and requires a
lot of effort and stamina. It is not a common job in the service. Abrahamson
explained that the average class size starts with around 24 to 26 people and
as few as six people might graduate.
When Abrahamson was just 19, he was in charge of five sniper teams.
“I was combat promoted in Saudi Arabia to a corporal. In the Marine
Corps, the corporals are the backbone. I was actually doing a staff sergeant’s
job as an E-4. It was a lot of responsibility. I was in charge of feeding, cloth-
ing, making sure 10 guys had water and safety. It helps you mature and it
helps you become part of a team early on.”
Abrahamson explained that he will never regret his time in the service
because it is part of who he is.
“I am the person I am today because of what happened to me over my
years in the service,” he said. “They say that growing up your parents mold
you — and they do — they teach you right from wrong and the yes and nos
and stuff like that, but I think it was the Marine Corps that actually made
me into the individual that I am today.”
For the past 24 years, Abrahamson has been part of the American Legion
in Idaho Falls. He is currently the District Commander for Eastern Idaho
and the Vice Commander for Post 56 in Idaho Falls.
In his lifetime, Abrahamson has been a part of more than 1,000 military funerals.
“I have people on my team that were WWII vets that are 85 to 90 years
old,” said Abrahamson. “They are outside for an hour at a time or maybe
two when it is negative 15 or 16 below with a wind chill factor, standing out
there to honor that veteran that passed away. We all have that same belief.
We are there to honor that veteran and their family.”
Abrahamson said he is the second youngest person in the local American
Legion unit.
“We are losing 600 WWII veterans a day,” said Abrahamson. “In WWII
there were 65 million veterans and now there are less than 1.5 million. We
are losing a lot of our history every day.”
Abrahamson and other unit members visit fellow veterans at local senior
living homes too and pay for their membership in the American Legion to
help make them feel like they still have something to be a part of.
“We being service members, they being service members, we have a con-
nection as soon as we walk in. I think that is an important part of what the
legion does here in town. The next time you see a person with a veteran hat
on or a service hat thank them for their service and then ask them to share
one of their stories with you. It can be lighthearted, funny, or serious, but I
think that is the only way you can really get the real story.” ■
— 43 —
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 43 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Will Davis II
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 44 10/25/13 5:58 PM
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
W
illiam Davis II always knew
he wanted to serve his
country. He enlisted in part
because of his family history, which
has strong roots in the military. His
uncle was in the Special Forces and was
one of Davis’ heroes; he said he always
wanted to be just like his uncle.
After basic training, Davis entered
Airborne School. His plan was to
eventually join the Special Forces, but
unfortunately Davis broke his ankle on
his first jump.
“Things didn’t work out the way I
wanted them to, but I was determined
to serve my country in the military,”
said Davis.
When he had healed enough, Davis
got new orders and was shipped of to
Fort Hood, Texas. He spent most of his
military career there, besides the year
he spent overseas.
In 2002, Davis went to Pocatello for
the first time to train the guard. He was
Born
to serve
Davis knew from an early age
he was destined to serve
— 45 —
Name: William “Will” Davis II
Born: 1983 in Julavista, Calif.
War: Iraq War as part of Oper-
ation Iraqi Freedom
Branch of Service: Army
Date Entered Service: Aug. 23,
2001
Discharge Date: Aug. 23, 2004
Rank Upon Discharge: E-4
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 45 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 46 —
only there a week, and in the last couple days of their time there a few of his
military friends invited Davis to come with them to Jamba Juice.
“I was from California and I had never seen one before,” said Davis.
“We went over there and tried it out and I must admit it was pretty de-
cent.”
It was then when Davis spotted an attractive young lady behind the
counter. Davis’ sergeant dared him to talk to the girl and he did. He got
her number and found out her name was Jeni. The two talked through-
out Davis’ time in service.
“She really liked the whole camo uniform. She said as soon as she saw
that she fell in love — and it wasn’t with me, it was with the uniform,”
joked Davis.
Davis and Jeni got married in 2004. They have been married for nine
years and have three children.
In 2003, Davis was deployed overseas.
“I remember all my days of being deployed,” said Davis. “When we
first got there we went to Kuwait. That was an interesting place. It was
hard to get over our jetlag and we slept a ton that first week. It was nice
because we didn’t get much [sleep] after that.”
Davis was an E-4, which is one step away from being a sergeant. He
was a gunner on his vehicle and his main responsibilities were to make
Submitted photo
Will Davis, right, poses with an Iraqi man whom he shot in the shoulder. Davis spared the man’s life and
later trained him to defend his country against terrorists.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 46 10/25/13 5:58 PM
sure it ran correctly, that his men were protected and that the gun fired
where it was supposed to. He was in charge when his sergeant wasn’t
there.
“We were the first ones to cross into Iraq,” said Davis. “It is scary, we
were all nervous. All the emotions seem to rush in at one time.”
Davis remembers going into Baghdad at nighttime.
“That part was scary because all of a sudden we saw flashes every-
where,” said Davis. “It was kind of like what you might see in the movies
but it was in real life, and that’s what was at stake.”
The reality of being overseas and the fact that his life was in danger
didn’t really hit Davis until he had been there for a few months.
While he was there, he witnessed the beginnings of the Iraq War, in-
cluding the capture of Saddam Hussein.
“Sure it was from a distance and through night vision goggles, but
it was still a cool thing to see and it meant a lot for our country,” said
Davis.
One incident seems to stand out more than most of the things Davis
experienced overseas. Within the first few weeks, Davis and his platoon
of seven troops heard about some insurgents that were in a certain area.
The platoon was sent there to take over the area and as soon as they got
there one of the 10 insurgents shot at them.
Shots were exchanged and when it was all over Davis and the other
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GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 47 10/25/13 5:58 PM
members of his platoon went through
the area to check for weapons and oth-
er insurgents.
Davis came across a young man
that he had shot in the shoulder area.
The man was lying on the ground and
looked up at Davis just as he was rais-
ing his gun to finish him off.
“He was a young guy, one that didn’t
appear to be much older than the rest
of us,” said Davis. “I thought about
him dying on that battlefield for some-
one that probably made him be there
through intimidation. My compassion-
ate side came through.”
Davis spared his life but didn’t
expect to see the man again. About six
months after that experience Davis was
helping with some border patrol train-
ing. That is when American soldiers
trained people in the areas where they
were stationed to defend themselves
against the terrorists in their own
country.
There at one of the training meet-
ings stood a man that looked very fa-
miliar to Davis. After some thought, he
realized it was the same man whose life
he had spared just six months before.
“We mainly talked about his family,
his mom, brothers and sisters,” said
Davis. “He told me that he found a girl
he was interested in and was hoping to
marry her. I told him about my fiancée
and my family. I just remember there
were no hard feelings.”
The man thanked Davis for sparing
his life, and Davis said it was a very
humbling experience. After exchanging
stories the two got a picture together
which Davis still has today.
Davis said he was recently thinking
about why he really decided to enter
into the military.
“It is a question you have to ask your-
— 48 —
Support
your vets.
Those
guys go
out there
to support
your
freedoms
and they
fight for
everything
that this
country
stands for.”
— Will Davis II
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 48 10/25/13 5:58 PM
— 49 —
self. A lot of people get into it because after high school they feel like they
have no other options and military is an easy one. For me, I wanted to leave
a legacy. I have a little boy who is six years old. I tell him stories about what
I did, not all of my stories of course. He tells me all the time ‘I want to be a
soldier like my dad.’ To hear that gives me a little more pride in what I did
and why I did it.”
Davis said that one thing he has realized since he has been out of the
military is that there is not enough support for veterans.
“Support your vets,” said Davis. “Those guys go out there to support
your freedoms and they fight for everything that this country stands for.
They go out there and fight with the flag on their shoulders. For all of
us, that flag means a lot. If you ever go to a ball game or something like
that where the national anthem is sung, if you look around at any veter-
an who has served they will have a tear in their eye and that is because
those words mean more to us than anything else. There is nothing in this
life that means more to me than that flag and the meaning and purpose
behind it. Stand behind your veterans or stand in front of them.” ■
Submitted photo
Will Davis poses with his platoon at Fort Benning, Ga.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 49 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Generation s of Heroes
W
a
y
n
e
La
n
ie
r
Glen Koester
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 50 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Generation s of Heroes
Thomas H.
Stickley
B
o
b
S
k
in
n
e
r
P
h
o
t
o
s

c
o
u
r
t
e
s
y

A
m
e
r
i
c
a
n

L
e
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i
o
n
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 51 10/25/13 5:58 PM
Join the Post Register in
honoring our nation’s
heroes this November.
November 7-27
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
at the Post Register
333 Northgate Mile
Idaho Falls, ID
This multimedia event
features a publication
honoring the service of
local veterans as well
as a display of military
artifacts contributed by
local veterans. Visit www.
postregister.com for a
slideshow, video interviews
and eBooks.
GeneratonsOfHeroes.indd 52 10/25/13 5:58 PM