ARLINGTON, TX – Today, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation (NMOHMF) announced that Major Charles W. Davis’ Medal of Honor was donated to the Museum by his son, J. Kirk Davis, author and resident of Palestine, Texas. His father’s deeply emotional letters sent to his wife, Joan, relating to the award in 1943 were donated as well.
Major Charles Davis earned the Medal of Honor in 1943 for heroic actions in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, then-Captain Davis and his division were deployed to Guadalcanal Island in the Pacific Theater. During the Army’s opening offensive in January of 1943, he volunteered to lead four men up a steep ridge to assault a firmly entrenched enemy position. Visibly silhouetted against the sky, his bravery inspired the remaining battalion units to successfully engage the remaining enemy forces, thus securing the division’s objective.
In March, Major Davis learned he had been recommended for the Medal and wrote to his wife Joan, “I simply have to pinch myself to realize that it is true.” In a rare battlefield ceremony, Davis was presented the Medal by Lt. Gen. Millard Harmon, Commanding General of the Army Forces in the South Pacific, on July 30, 1943. While the battle for Guadalcanal was over by that time, the Pacific Campaign had barely begun. Davis and the 25th Infantry Division continued the fight on to New Georgia until October. Renowned as “the Hero of Galloping Horse,” his valor would go on to inspire the U.S. Armed Forces over the years to come.
On the day Kirk Davis donated his father’s Medal to the Museum, he sat down with Major General Pat Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient himself and member of the NMOHM Board who knew Charles Davis personally, to talk about his father’s life, his bravery on the battlefield, and the great love of his life, wife Joan. Kirk is also the author of The Hero & the Beauty, an account of his parents life together and his father’s heroism during World War II.
“My family is excited to gift my father’s Medal to the Museum for we believe it is the best way to safeguard his inspirational legacy,” said Kirk Davis. “Dad took pride in mentoring younger folks who revered him while a few generals and presidents would seek his counsel. Knowing his story, future generations of Americans will be inspired by what the Medal represents. Rest assured, the Davis family cannot imagine a more appropriate legacy and permanent home.”
“As a fellow Medal of Honor recipient, I knew Major Charles Davis very well. His valor in battle was impressive, but the life he led as a family man and role model as a civilian was what truly inspired me. It was a real privilege to reconnect with his son Kirk and to be there for the donation of his father’s Medal to the Museum. I want to thank Kirk and his family for donating these priceless treasures. They are family keepsakes, but they become so much more than that when shared with the world in this way. Those of us who have earned the Medal of Honor wear it for all those we have served alongside. Preserving and sharing these stories with America is essential to ensuring that next generation will continue to learn from heroes like Major Davis,” said Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, NMOHM Board Member and Medal of Honor recipient.
For more information on the donation of Major Davis’ Medal and his story, head to www.mohmuseum.org/charles-w-davis.