Bisbee, AZ, US
2nd LT, C Company, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry
8/2/1966, Pleiku Province, Vietnam
The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 2LT Leonard Douglas Davis, 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 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 fianc� 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, was “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.
Doug’s portrait is also on Poster 15