ANC Website Top BANNER 2
Edward A. Davis
Captain, United States Navy
Pennsylvania State Flag
Ed Davis, Viet War POW, dies at 67
 By Lori Van Ingen
Courtesy of the Intelligencer Journal
9 November 2006

LANCASTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA - Captain Edward A. Davis, a retired U.S. Navy pilot who was shot down and captured during the Vietnam War, died Tuesday of natural causes at Essa Flory Hospice Center. A Lancaster resident, he was 67.

EA Davis PHOTO

Davis was 25 when the A-1 Skyraider he was flying during his 57th combat mission was shot down over North Vietnam in August 1965. He spent the next 7½ years in a series of prisoner-of-war camps that included the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

Dick Hoxworth of WGAL-TV said he had the honor of interviewing Davis three days after his release from captivity in February 1973.

"I was just struck by this man," Hoxworth said. "He was a quiet-speaking man who expressed no bitterness toward his captors, even though they robbed him of 7½ years."

"He realized that although he lost 7½ years, they can't be replaced, and he wasn't about to waste the time he had ahead of him," he said.

Davis and Hoxworth kept in touch and eventually became close friends.

"I considered him my brother," Hoxworth said.

Hoxworth also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and possibly processed the casualty reports that included Davis' name as a prisoner of war.

"He was a true hero," Hoxworth said.

Davis was honored with three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with combat citation, four Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, three Navy commendation medals and numerous unit and campaign awards.

Davis, however, did not consider himself a hero.

"He said he was no hero; he was a survivor," Hoxworth said.

"He truly loved America. He was the consummate patriot."

During an interview commemorating the 25th anniversary of his release, Davis told Hoxworth, "When I first saw that flag (after his return from Vietnam), I knew it was all worth it."

Since that time, Hoxworth said, Davis "lived every day to the best of his ability. He truly loved life. He made the most of it. He loved people, and people loved him."

During Hoxworth's 38 years as a television newsman, he said he met many fascinating people.

"But not many men who stood taller than Ed Davis," he said. "A lot walked in his shadow."

Although he had always known him as either "Sir" or "Captain," State Rep. Gibson C. Armstrong said Davis had become a very close friend.

"He was a gentleman," Armstrong said. "He was tough when he needed to be tough. He had a quick wit and a lot of insight. I liked being around him and hoped what he had would rub off on me."

Aside from his parents and family, Davis "had as much influence on my life as anybody," Armstrong said. "He helped me get mentally ready for the rigors of the (Naval) service academy.

The day before I left for plebe summer, he told me I should remember one thing: 'If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.' Given his 7½ years as a POW, that one sentence of advice took on new meaning. He was the quintessential Naval officer."

Armstrong said Davis also was an "outstanding" public speaker because he had a commanding presence about him, and he spoke from the heart."

Former Lancaster County Commissioner Jim Huber said Davis' death is "the loss of a special friend and a great war hero. He was the epitome of heroism. His 7½ years as a POW involved many sacrifices.

"He served his country well."

Huber and Davis also were members of the same Sertoma club.

"He had a great commitment to his community and country in service to Sertoma," Huber said. "Ed was a very special person and a good friend. It is a great loss to the community."

Born in Norristown, Davis was the son of the late Edward F. and Joan D. Frankenburg Davis.

He attended St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Villanova University and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he graduated in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in naval science. He served with Attack Squadron 152, operating from USS Oriskany.

After returning from Vietnam, he completed graduate work in international relations at the University of Virginia and served as an associate professor and executive officer of the Naval ROTC unit at the university. He then returned to Washington, D.C., as the Navy's director of advertising.

He later was appointed commanding officer of the 38-county Navy Recruiting District for Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, based in Harrisburg, where Armstrong first came into contact with him. Davis retired in 1987.

He then worked as flight department director for the former Ferranti International Signal Inc.

Davis, who formerly lived in Millersville, served on the Penn Manor school board for nine years and on the board of the Lancaster Municipal Airport Authority. He also served as POW consultant to the National Vietnam War Museum.

He received the Daughters of the American Revolution silver medal and Sons of the American Revolution gold medal.

He was a life member of American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association and the Fourth Allied POW Wing.

Davis also had been awarded the key to the city of Lancaster.

Surviving are his wife, Karen Wheeler Davis; two daughters, Jennifer E., married to Chris Meyer of Lancaster, and Amanda K. Davis of Wrightsville; two stepsons, Mark S., married to Katherine Roda of Lancaster, and Tim D., married to Allison Roda of Manhattan, New York; two stepdaughters, Tara L., married to Dave McNaughton of Lancaster, and Kimberly R., married to Tim Moorhead of Louisville, Kentucky; eight grandchildren; three brothers, John of Millersville, Mark of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Barry of Norristown; and two sisters, Cathy Serdikoff of Collegeville and Linda Pazy Mino of Haverford.

Visitation is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, followed by a celebration of Davis' life at 7:30 p.m. at Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home and Chapel, 3110 Lititz Pike. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, 558 W. Walnut St. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery.



Ed Davis, 67; Navy Captain Was Held Captive in Vietnam
By Adam Bernstein
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, November 17, 2006

Retired Navy Captain Ed Davis, 67, who spent 7 1/2 years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war and later was a motivational speaker focusing on management under difficult circumstances, died November 7, 2006, at a hospice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had pancreatic cancer.

Captain Davis flew 57 combat missions off the aircraft carrier Oriskany during the Vietnam War before being shot down in his A-1 Skyraider on August 26, 1965. After spending the night in a rainy ditch accompanied by a large snake, he was captured and marched for 19 days to Hanoi.

Until his release February 12, 1973, he was a prisoner of war at the "Hanoi Hilton" prison compound. A common torture, he said, was an arm contortion known as the "rope trick," in which his arms were forced behind his back and toward his head.

The pain was intense, and passing out was inevitable. He once described a stalling technique popular among captives called the "bounce-back," in which they would frustrate the North Vietnamese by waking from their delirium and starting a story from the beginning.

To avoid being repulsed by what he ate, he never watched what he put in his mouth. "If you don't look, you don't see," he later said. "If you don't see, you don't care, and it won't bother you."

He was a Lieutenant Commander at the time of his release with other long-serving POWs as part of Operation Homecoming. Before leaving for the United States from Clark Air Base in the Philippines, he gained media attention for keeping a pet puppy from his detention.

In an account published in the book "We Came Home," edited by Barbara Powers Wyatt, Captain Davis wrote: "One important point I do wish to make, MaCo was not given to me by a guard. In simple terms, I adopted her in Hanoi and when it came time to leave, the 'V' chose to let me take her from the camp in order to avoid trouble (strictly my opinion).

"From that point I carried her through the airport ceremony in my bag and no one was the wiser. . . . I do not want either my dog or I to be taken for something we are not. I am an Ex-POW. She is a lucky dog."

Edward Anthony Davis was born August 16, 1939, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Roxborough, Pennsylvania. He was a champion rower at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia and graduated in 1962 from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

After returning from Vietnam, Captain Davis became the Navy's advertising director. His final active-duty assignment, in 1987, was commanding officer of the Navy recruiting district in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His decorations included two awards of the Purple Heart.

He was a prolific public speaker and appeared often before educational groups and government agencies.

His marriage to Elaine Davis ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of six years, Karen Wheeler Davis of Lancaster; two daughters from his first marriage, Jennifer Meyers of Lancaster and Amanda Davis of Wrightsville, Pa.; four stepchildren, Tim Roda of Manhattan, N.Y., Kimberly Moorhead of Louisville, and Mark Roda and Tara McNaughton, both of Lancaster; three brothers; two sisters; and eight grandchildren.



Davis to be buried in Arlington
By Tom Knapp, Staff
Courtesy of the Intelligencer Journal
March 15, 2007

Captain Edward A. Davis, a retired U.S. Navy pilot who spent 7 and ½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, will be laid to rest with full military honors May 2, 2007, in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Davis died of cancer November 7, 2006, at Essa Flory Hospice Center. He was 67.

"This is something he deserves, and he would appreciate it," his wife, Karen Wheeler Davis, said Wednesday.

"It's one of those things. He was such a showy person, he'd just love it."

The service will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Arlington administration building, she said, with a 45-minute graveside ceremony beginning at 1 p.m.

Davis, who was cremated after his death, was celebrated at a funeral November 18, 2006, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Lancaster and at a packed memorial service the previous evening at Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home.

The service in Arlington will include a military band and rifle salute, Mrs. Davis said.

"He wanted this, and he deserved it," she said.

Based on USS Oriskany, Davis was 25 years old when the propeller-driven A-1 Skyraider he was flying on his 57th combat mission was shot down over North Vietnam on Aug. 28, 1965. He spent the next 7 and ½ years in a series of prisoner-of-war camps, including the notorious "Hanoi Hilton."

He returned to the United States in 1973 with a smuggled puppy named Ma-Co.

Davis was honored with three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with combat citation, four Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, three Navy commendation medals and numerous unit and campaign awards.

He received the Daughters of the American Revolution silver medal and Sons of the American Revolution gold medal. Davis also was awarded the key to the city of Lancaster.

He was a life member of American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association and the Fourth Allied POW Wing.

David H. Bender, chairman of the Sertoma Club of Lancaster, said the club is chartering a bus to take members to Arlington for the ceremony.

"If we have room on a bus, other people would probably be welcome to fill up the seats," Bender said.

The ceremony will include a flyover by Navy fighter pilots, Bender said.

"This is our way of showing one last sign of respect to someone who meant a lot to so many people," he said.

"I think what would mean a lot to him is, he showed an incredible amount of respect for everyone around him. To have the respect of his friends, and to be surrounded by his friends, would be an important thing for him."

A native of suburban Philadelphia, Davis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1962. He moved to the Lancaster area in 1984.

After returning to the United States from Vietnam, he completed graduate work in international relations and worked in Washington, D.C., as director of advertising for the Navy. In 1987, he retired as commanding officer of the Navy Recruiting District for Eastern & Central Pennsylvania, then worked as flight department director for the former Ferranti International Signal Inc.

He served many years on the Penn Manor school board and Lancaster Airport Authority. He was a POW consultant to the National Vietnam War Museum.



Honoring a hero
Capt. Edward Davis is laid to rest at Arlington
By Brett Lovelace, Staff
Courtesy of the Intelligencer Journal
3 May 2007

Amanda Davis kneeled in the warm afternoon sunshine Wednesday and laid the granite box containing remains of her father on the Arlington National Cemetery burial plot.

She kissed the box engraved "Capt. Edward A. Davis, USN (Retired), Aug. 16, 1959 - Nov. 7, 2006" and left a red rose beside it.

The gesture concluded a majestic funeral for Davis, a decorated Vietnam War hero and Pennsylvania native who was buried with full military honors before about 250 mourners and military officers.

Among those were about 45 people from Sertoma Club of Lancaster, where Davis was a member.

Davis, 67, a prisoner of war for 7½ years in Hanoi, Vietnam, was cremated after dying of cancer November 7, 2006, at Lancaster County's Essa Flory Hospice Center. Two memorial services held in Lancaster for Davis about a week after his death drew hundreds of people.

The military burial at Arlington was scheduled to mark the anniversary of Davis' marriage proposal to his wife, Karen Wheeler Davis.

The hourlong service started at 1:05 p.m., after a trio of military jets flew above the cemetery.

Six white horses pulled the caisson and the flag-draped casket. Because Davis was cremated, a compartment in the casket contained the box of his remains.

About 25 members of the U.S. Navy Band, dressed in white uniforms, played as the officers aboard the horses pulled away from the 30-foot-high McClellan Gate, near the main entrance to the cemetery.

Karen Davis, flanked by her two adult stepdaughters, Amanda Davis and Jennifer E. Meyer, slowly walked behind the caisson for about 200 yards until reaching the interment site.

After reaching the grave, nine members of the Davis family sat in black velvet chairs under a canopy as a Navy chaplain spoke about service to country, God and experiencing peace.

Six Navy seamen held the outstretched American flag above the granite box of Davis' remains as the chaplain spoke.

A 21-gun salute punctured the quiet. Some mourners wiped away tears after hearing the chaplain reflect on Davis' patriotism and selfless devotion to others.

Near the line of seven soldiers holding rifles, a bugler played "Taps."

The seamen folded the flag and handed it to a Naval officer, who extended it to Karen Davis.

Still seated, Karen Davis cradled the fabric and said, "Thank you."

Amanda Davis placed the box containing the remains at the grave, beside which were placed several coins, a medallion and flowers.

The coins, a military funeral tradition, symbolized someone giving their last nickel away.

A headstone had yet to be placed at the plot as of Wednesday.

An Air Force veteran who died in 2004 and an World War II Army Sergeant who died in 2001 also rest in the row of graves where Davis' remains were buried.

Edward Davis, a Philadelphia native and 1962 Naval Academy graduate and pilot, conducted 57 combat missions during the Vietnam War before being shot down Augyst 26, 1965, over North Vietnam.

He endured more than seven years as a prisoner of war before returning to the U.S. on February 12, 1973.

Davis was the commanding officer of the Navy Recruiting Center in Harrisburg. He moved to Millersville in 1984 and later served on the Penn Manor School District Board of Directors.

Davis was awarded three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with Combat Citation, four Bronze Stars with Valor Device, five Air Medals, two Purple Hearts and three Navy Commendation Medals with Valor Device before retiring from the Navy in 1987.

Davis also was a motivational speaker, but he rarely revealed details of the years he spent as a POW.

In a 1989 newspaper interview, Davis said surviving the ordeal was difficult.

"When you find yourself under starvation and torture for not just minutes but hours and days, you find out what's on your mind," he said.

The experience changed his outlook on life.

"I'm very much a today person, a here-and-now person," he said.

"I don't think much about making future plans or travel and so on. There's enough to keep me fascinated right where I am."

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO

EA Davis Funral Services PHOTO
Karen Wheeler Davis, second from right in front row, widow of retired Navy Capain. Edward A. Davis, 
and others watch the caisson arrive during his burial ceremony Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO
Karen Wheeler Davis, widow of retired Navy Captain Edward A. Davis, second from left, watches 
as his ashes are carried during his burial ceremony Wednesday.

EA Davis PHOTO

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO

EA Davis Funeral Services PHOTO

EA Davis Gravesite PHOTO March 2010
Courtesy of the Captain's Friend, Win Perkins, March 2010


Posted: 9 November 2006 Updated: 18 November 2006 Updated: 15 March 2007 Updated: 2 May 2007 Updated: 31 March 2010
 . US Naval Academy SEAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

     Silver Star Medal - 3 Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Legion of Merit - 2 Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Bronze Star Medal - 4 Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Air Medal - 5 awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Purple Heart Medal - 2 Awards