Retired Master Sergeant Thomas Davis keeps his uniform in pristine condition. In fact, the 96-year-old Alabama native can still fit into the dress blues.
“It’s my pride and joy,” Davis said.
Davis saw the first bomb dropped on Pearl Harbor. He recalls watching it happen, and what seemed to be a trivial decision the night before.
“The guy who went in the Navy with me was on the Arizona,” Davis said. “He told me, ‘Dave, why don’t you come over and spend the night with me, and we’ll go up in town the next day.”
But Davis remained on his own ship, and as he ate breakfast on the deck, he saw the first Japanese plane across the bay.
“My focus was on the Arizona at the time,” Davis said. “Watching all that fire going on and everything burning over there, and you couldn’t hardly see the harbor on that side.”
Davis watched in disbelief, realizing he could have easily been aboard the burning ship. He is thankful his life was spared, but misses his friend.
“Today he’s not here,” Davis said.
After surviving World War II, Davis went on to serve in the Korean War and Vietnam.
These days, the Lowndes County native shares his memories with friends at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City.