John Barfield Davis

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army

HOMETOWN
Corbin, KY

HONORED BY
Donna T. Durbin, Niece

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

HE BEGAN HIS SERVICE IN OCTOBER 1941 AT CAMP WOLTERS, TEXAS. HE WAS APPOINTED TRAINEE CORPORAL, COMPANY D, 52ND INFANTRY TRAINING BATTALION. FROM THERE HE WAS SENT TO HAWAII AND SERVED 14 MONTHS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC. HE GRADUATED FROM THE FT. BELVOIR, VIRGINIA TRAINING SCHOOL FOR ENGINEERS IN MARCH, 1943, AND WAS TRANSFERRED AS 2ND LIEUTENANT TO FT. LEWIS, WASHINGTON. AS PART OF THE 254TH ENGINEERING BATTALION, COMPANY C, HIS EUROPEAN SERVICE FROM SEPTEMBER THROUGH OCTOBER OF 1943 CONSISTED OF CONSTRUCTING AN ASSAULT TRAINING CENTER IN THE SAND DUNES ON THE WEST ATLANTIC COAST OF CORNWALL. THESE FACILITIES WERE DUPLICATES OF GERMAN FORTIFICATIONS KNOWN TO EXIST AT NORMANDY. HIS BATTALION PARTICIPATED IN THE D-DAY INVASION OF NORMANDY, SUPPORTING THE INITIAL LANDINGS BY CLEARING MINES, REPAIRING DAMAGED ROADS, AND BUILDING BRIDGES. THESE EFFORTS FACILITATED THE LINK UP OF THE UTAH AND OMAHA BEACHHEADS. THE 254TH PLAYED AN ACTIVE ROLE THROUGHOUT FRANCE AND WERE ONE OF THE FIRST UNITS TO ENTER PARIS. ON JULY 16, 1944, THE ORDER CAME DOWN FOR THE BATTALION TO REORGANIZE AS INFANTRY AND TAKE PART IN THE BATTLE OF SAINT LO. HE WAS PROMOTED TO 1ST LIEUTENANT IN AUGUST OF 1944. FROM AUGUST 1-9, THE 254TH CONTINUED MAINTAINING ROADS, REPAIRING BRIDGES, AND SWEEPING FOR MINES. ON SEPTEMBER 11, 1944, THE 254TH BECAME ONE OF THE FIRST AMERICAN UNITS TO REACH GERMAN SOIL. HE WAS WOUNDED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1944, IN BELGIUM WHILE ON A RECONNAISSANCE PATROL WHEN HIS GROUP RAN INTO A STRONG POCKET OF RESISTANCE. HE WAS EVACUATED BY AN ARMORED VEHICLE BUT DIED OF HIS WOUNDS. HE WAS BURIED AT U.S. MILITARY CEMETERY #1, FOSSE, BELGIUM, BUT HIS BODY WAS RETURNED TO HIS HOME IN KENTUCKY IN THE SPRING OF 1949.