Class Memorial Pages\F-2 Tom Davis - USMA62.pdf
Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:
Thomas R. Davis '62 (The Ridge Runner) was born in Mississippi to Eli and
Bonnie Davis and was the older brother of Bonnie. After graduation from Holly Springs High School in 1957, Richard, as he was
known to his family and hometown friends, or "T.R.", as his classmates knew him, entered West Point. After Beast Barracks,
T.R. was assigned to Company F-2.
Although his size prevented him from playing football for Army, T.R. was able to take part in the sport he
loved as a team manager, serving as head manager his last year. He also was active in the fencing club, and he boxed for his
company (and got a broken nose for his effort). Those of us who knew him best appreciated his wonderful personality and his
ability to get along with everyone.
Upon graduation in 1962, T.R. was commissioned in the Infantry and reported to Ft. Benning for the Basic
Course and Airborne and Ranger schools. T.R.'s initial troop assignment was with the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 506th Airborne
Infantry Regiment ("Currahee"-Band of Brothers), 101st Airborne Division, at Ft. Campbell, KY. He was assigned to this unit
during the reorganization of the Army, and the unit became the 1st Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment. He initially
served as a platoon leader.
While stationed at Ft. Campbell, T.R. and classmates Steve Arnold and Bob Douglas rented a house in
Clarksville, TN. After several months, another classmate, Chris Robbins, joined them. T.R. served as the meticulous manager of
the household, ensuring that everything was in good shape and that bills were paid. Then he would invoice Steve and Bob for
their shares. Steve and T.R. went through Ranger training together (they were Ranger buddies) in the infamous frostbitten
class 6 during the winter of 1962. Steve reflects that they helped each other survive the mental and physical demands of the
course and kept each other moving during the night the temperature dropped well below zero in the Georgia mountains.
Steve and T.R. both had Triumph TR3s. When T.R. was not at work, you would find him behind the wheel of his
beloved TR3, which he often drove in the local Triumph rallies in Clarksville. When he wasn't out driving, he was often boating
on the Cumberland River with classmates Ray Pendleton and Dave Treadwell.
While he was stationed at Ft. Campbell, T.R. met and fell in love with Delores "Dee" Barrett. In 1965, T.R.
was reassigned to Ft. Ord, CA, with the Army Training Center, 2d Advanced Individual Training Brigade. In December 1965,T.R. and
Dee married in Dee's hometown of Woodbury, TN. During his Ft. Ord assignment, he was alerted for a tour in Viet
he deployed, he began to experience some episodes of dizziness, but it did not prevent his movement to Viet Nam in the summer of
1966. While serving there, T.R. continued to experience dizziness, loss of memory, and seizures. After a few months, he was
evacuated to Japan for medical treatment.
When he returned to the States, he was assigned to the staff and faculty of the Army Infantry Center at Ft.
Benning. Although T.R.'s condition worsened, he was assigned to Ft. Richardson,
AK, in 1969. It was in 1970, while in Alaska
that, as a result of his deteriorating health, T.R. had to resign from the Army as a captain with a medical disability.
After his discharge from the Army, T.R. convinced Dee that it would be a wonderful opportunity to travel
from Alaska to the "lower 48" by driving down the Al-Can Highway and camping all the way home to Mississippi and Tennessee.
What followed was a special time for the couple. Here was T.R., the professional camper, along with Dee, whose idea of "roughing
it" was to spend a week at the Holiday Inn, off on this great adventure, hauling a Scamp camping trailer behind their car. It
was a trip that took them to some beautiful locations but under some of the most rugged and rustic conditions possible. It
turned out to be a time that Dee would never forget.
Eventually, their trip led them home to Mississippi, where T.R. made arrangements for diagnostic tests with
one of the top neurosurgeons in Memphis. Sadly, it was eventually determined that he had a very invasive, fast-growing,
malignant brain tumor that would result in his death.
Shortly after the initial exploratory surgery, additional surgery was performed to stop a life-threatening
hemorrhage. The second surgery resulted in brain damage that affected his ability to perform many common daily activities.
Although he spent the remainder of his life in a hospital setting, he defied the surgeons' best predictions of what he would be
able to do, including walking. Through sheer determination and the loving
support of his and Dee's families, he was able to make
the best of the time he had left. This was a very difficult time for T.R., Dee, his sister Bonnie, his parents, and Dee's family,
to whom he was very close.
During the two-and-a-half years left to him after surgery, a tight-knit group of his and Dee's immediate and
extended family remained close to him, providing encouragement and support. T.R.'s memorial service was held in his hometown of
Holly Springs, MS, where he is buried in the family plot. Family, friends, and classmates agree that it is easy to say,
"Well done; be thou at peace."
Family and friends
TAPS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2004