Davis Commemorates Birthday of Ship’s Namesake

Friday, April 20, 2007
From USS Rodney M. Davis Public Affairs USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) held a ceremony April 7 to commemorate the birthday of her namesake, Marine Sgt. Rodney Maxwell Davis. The ship, commissioned in 1987, was named in honor of Davis who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. The ship's chief petty officers presented Davis' uniform and awards to the command during the ceremony. The memorabilia will be displayed on the mess decks. The chiefs chose Davis’ birthday to honor both his life and his achievements.

Chief Cryptologic Technician Technical David Gwinner, Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician Electrical Kurt Williams, and Chief Sonar Technician Robert Foss presented the display. Harold McConnell, commandant of the Marine Corps League, Sgt. Rodney M. Davis Detachment, donated the centerpiece of the display, Davis’ Service A uniform. The chiefs also put together a display of his Medal of Honor citation, medals, and pictures -- including a photo of his name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington and photos of the ship’s commissioning.

“All crew members should have knowledge of the legacy of their ship’s namesake,” Williams said. “It’s the best way to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.” Davis was assigned as a platoon guide with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in 1967. He was operating with his unit in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam on a search and clear mission when they were attacked by a large North Vietnamese force. Elements of the platoon were pinned down in a trench line by mortars, heavy automatic and small arms fire. Davis went from man to man encouraging them and returning fire at the same time. An enemy hand grenade fell in the trenches where his men were fighting and without hesitation he threw himself upon the grenade. He saved his fellow Marines in this selfless act and thus earned the nation's highest military decoration.

The Rodney M. Davis incorporates the valorous example of Davis into her mission statement: “To honor our nation & our Navy. We will honor those Navy Sailors who have gone before us, and we will honor the memory of our ship's namesake Sgt. Rodney M. Davis, USMC, for his gallant heroics that saved his Marines.” Rodney M. Davis is deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) as part of a Joint/Inter-Agency Task force conducting counter-narcotics trafficking operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

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