179th Infantry Regiment Crest , 45th Infantry Division, Second WorldWar

SSgt. Emmet Elden Davis

179th Infantry Regiment Crest , 45th Infantry Division, second worldwar
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Used with permission of Emmet Elden Davis, with special thanks to his son Scott Davis. Emmet is blind with macular degeneration and his son, Scott, is instrumental in having correspondence.

Emmet Elden Davis I Company , 179th Infantry Regiment , 45th Infantry Division veteran

Emmet Elden Davis was born October 31, 1918, on a small farm a few miles from Maramec, OK. He is the son of Will Press Davis, the grandson of Louisa Brown Davis, and 2nd great grandson of Nancy Auxier and James Brown. He lived on that farm with two brothers and three sisters until he volunteered for service in January of 1941. He was sent to Ft. Sill, OK for basic training; where he was assigned to the 45th Infantry Division, 179th Infantry, Company I, 4th platoon.

He remembers the first day of training being bitterly cold. There was only one stove in the tent, so he and several other soldiers huddled around it, burning up on one side and freezing on the other. Another memory from training occurred one night; a young red-headed soldier stood outside the sergeant's barracks yelling "Sgt. Newman. Get up and come out here!" The sergeant woke up and walked outside at which time he was pelted with rocks from the young soldier. The sergeant told the soldier to get back inside and go to sleep. The next morning at formation, the sergeant walked up to the red-headed soldier and stood face to face with him. He proceeded to tell him that if he had the guts to call out a sergeant in the middle of the night to throw rocks at him, he would make a fine soldier. The two of them got along fine after that.

On December 7, 1941, Emmet was in Halstead, KS on extended leave due to his father being very ill and in the hospital. He remembers eating lunch in a restaurant when he heard about the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

Emmet and the 179th moved from Ft Sill, OK to Camp Barkley, TX for maneuvers. Then to Ft Devans, MA (Camp Edwards, for amphibious training), Pine Camp, NY; where they spent Christmas of 1942, and then to Camp Pickett, VA, to prepare to ship overseas. While in Massachusetts, He sent word to Colleen Baker, his sweetheart in Maramec, OK, to come to Ft. Devans. They were married before he shipped out.

He served overseas in the invasion of Sicily and landing at Salerno and Anzio, Italy. A few of his best buddies he remembers were Cpl. Champ B. Clark, Sgt. Claude E. Doop, Ed Gorcyka, and Walter E. Lawton. He earned his first purple heart November 4, 43; for shrapnel wounds to the face, during actions near Venafro, Italy.

He has vivid memories of his actions near Lagone, Italy, late in 1943. One morning he observed a German chow truck pull up around 8:00 AM "I fired one mortar round into the chow line and ordered fire for effect." Many GI's and Germans considered mortars to be the most deadly weapon used in the Italian Mountains.

Sgt. Davis earned his Silver Star Medal near Lagone:

EMMETT E DAVIS 38015971 INF, Staff Sergeant (then Sergeant), Company I, 179th Infantry Regiment for gallantry in action 15 December 1943 near Lagone, Italy. Sergeant Davis was section sergeant of a 60-mm mortar section whose position was subjected to a determined German counterattack. When it became evident that use of the normal laying methods was resulting in to slow a rate of fire, he removed the bipod from the mortar,

Map of Area surrounding Lagone, Italy , December 1943

straddled the base plate and adjusted fire by moving the mortar barrel by hand. In this manner he fired approximately 600 rounds on the attacking enemy, effecting heavy casualties. His fire was largely responsible for stopping the counterattack. Sergeant Davis' gallantry and quick thinking reflect high credit on the armed forces. Entered military service from Maramec, Oklahoma.

He was later to have an encore performance at Anzio beachhead, Italy a few months latter. The Ponca City Times reported "Ponca Citizen Stops Nazi Attack at Anzio, Then Goes To Sleep - One Gun Mortar Barrage in Total Darkness Takes Heavy Toll of Enemy, Saves Position. Staff Sgt. Emmet E. Davis of Ponca City couldn't aim his mortar fast enough during a German counter attack on the Anzio beachhead so he just removed the barrel from its aiming mechanism and held it in his hands while shooting. Hampered by total darkness and needing extremely fast fire to cover the area through which the Germans were advancing. Davis opened with a one-gun barrage that eventually broke up the German attack and accounted for heavy enemy casualties. "It was so dark I couldn't see the mechanism" related Davis, who is with an infantry unit in the 45th "Thunderbird" division. "There was no sense in fooling with those scales in the dark. We needed lots of shells to beat off the oncoming Germans, so I held the barrel in one hand and dropped shells in with the other. I had a pretty good idea of the range." "They told me afterward I had fired about 150 rounds in less than an hour. I really don't know how many I shot. I was too tired to care and when the order came through to cease firing, I just went to sleep," the Oklahoma sergeant concluded.

Emmet Elden Davis returned from overseas and the 45th Infantry Division, in September of 1944. He was stationed at San Marcos TX, Albequerque, NM, Roswell, NM and honorably discharged at Camp Chaffy, AR in July 1945. While fighting overseas, he earned the following: A Silver Star Medal, 3 Bronze Star Medals and 2 Purple Hearts (1 for shrapnel in the face and one for artillery fragments in the arm , cutting off his watch). Although his eyesight has failed, he still resides in Oklahoma, and remembers his service time. He generously took the time to share these recollections with us, through his son Scott.

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