18 Jun 2003
The following article was taken from the Oxford Press of December 5, 1965.
Robert Davis Was First Soldier From Area To Die In Viet Nam Fighting
An unwelcome first came to the Oxford area last week with the news that one of its sons had succumbed to the fighting in Viet Nam. Pfc. Robert A. Davis, a 1960 graduate of Oxford Area High School, was fatally wounded November 15 while on a "search and destroy operation" with "C" Company of the First Cavalry Division. He was the first serviceman from this immediate area to die in Viet Nam.
Discharge Time Near
Ironically, Private Davis had only 11 days to go before discharge when a bullet wound of the head took his life. He was drafted into the Army on November 26, 1963. The young soldier sent a letter to his mother, Mrs. Viola Davis of Kennett Square (PA), in October stating that he had "only thirty days left and if we did not hear from him, we would see him." Mrs. Davis said, "I kept the door unlocked and the light on" in case her son returned during the night. Two friends who entered the Army the same time as her son, Fremont Hardy and Larry Rhodes, also awaited Bob's return home. Five of seven brothers and sisters were also in the Davis home on Thanksgiving awaiting their brother's return. Instead, a phone call and a telegram on the day he was to be discharged confirmed their worst suspicions.
Body Flown Home
Davis's body, escorted by an Army sergeant, arrived at International Airport Philadelphia Sunday night. The body was taken to the Worrall and Kuzo Funeral Home in Kennett Square. A military funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Mennonite Chapel at Lincoln University. Interment will be in Rolling Green Cemetery, West Chester (PA), where a plot of ground has been donated to the memory of the deceased soldier. Pfc. Davis would have been 25 on December 31. He was born in Kelton, but most of his life was spent in the Oxford-Lincoln University area. From his early teens on, farming was his love and Mrs. Davis said, "that's all he wanted to be." After he left the Army he hoped to get a GI loan and start raising Black Angus cattle with his brother, Larry. Bob came from a large family and along with his brothers and sisters pitched in to help while still a youngster. For nearly six years, while attending school in Oxford, Bob worked for Hooper Vines at Lincoln University. Mrs. Vines, sadness in her voice, related last week that "he was a good boy all the way around and a good farmer. We hated to give him up." Young Davis helped operate the farm of Mrs. Francis Grubb at Lincoln after leaving the Vines farm. When the Grubb farm was sold in 1963 Bob was drafted into the Army. Mrs. Grubb described Pfc. Davis as "a very nice person and a very good farmer." "So many boys just can't find themselves", Mrs. Grubb said, "but Bob knew what he wanted to do." In high school Bob took the Vocational-Agricultural course and was also a member of the Future Farmers of America. Kenneth Thompson, who heads the Vo-Ag department, lamented the passing of his former pupil. He described the deceased soldier as "a good boy, very conscientious with his feet on the ground." Thompson likewise pointed out how young Davis carried responsibility easily and well.
This "quiet boy" from a close family suddenly found himself thrust into military service, a transition he made with some difficulty. Mrs. Davis said her son had never been away from the family until he was drafted into the Army, and was often troubled with homesickness, plus a longing to get back to the farm. But he presented no trouble to the Army and became a "good soldier." She last saw her son in July when he was home on a 15-day leave. When the First Cavalry Airmobile Division left the states for Viet Nam in August, Bob was among the line troopers. Mrs. Davis also has two other sons in the Army. Private Blair Davis, who was assigned to an artillery outfit in a staging area near Saigon, South Viet Nam, was given an emergency leave to attend the funeral of his brother. He expects to be reassigned to an outfit in California. Private Gilbert Davis, also home for his brother's funeral, will return to Fort Jackson, S.C. The deceased soldier is also survived by his father, Clement Davis, who lives in Reading (PA); three other brothers, Wesley and Thomas, both of Kenneth Square and Larry of Oxford. Two sisters also survive, Debbie, wife of William Bailey of New Jersey and Sally of Kennett Square.
The following, along with the photo, is taken from "The Kernal" Class of 1960 yearbook, Oxford Area High School.
ROBERT ARNOLD DAVIS
"He did nothing in particular and he did it very well. Humor in a quiet vein ... friendly unobtrusiveness ... the ageless welcome"
Activities: Agriculture 2, 3, 4; Boys' Athletics 2; Greenhand 2; Projectionist 1; Fire Patrol 4; Agricultural Shop 4
25 Feb 2006 - Found in The West Chester (PA) Daily Local News from January 3, 1967:
The first from the county to die in the Southeast Asia war was Army Pfc. Robert A. Davis, of 611 W. South Street, Kennett Square.
He died of a gunshot wound in the head, Nov.15, 1965.
He was later awarded a posthumous Bronze Star with "V" for Valor.
From a native Philadelphian and Marine,