Biography: Otis Davis, “Buddy”, was born on December 11, 1921, in Wilkinson County, Georgia. He was the fifth of nine children, born to James Henry Davis and Sallie Mae Vinson. He attended local schools through the grammar level. His enlistment records indicates that he was working in a semiskilled job in warehousing, store keeping, handling, unloading or related occupation, prior to the war.
Service Time: Buddy entered the service on September 5, 1942, at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, GA. After his basic training was completed, he was able to go on leave in December and marry the former Melba Leonard, who was born in Chester, GA and was the daughter of Henry Elmer Leonard and Betty Mae Long.
He returned and was assigned to Company A of the 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion and continued his training with them at various military facilities, including Camp Bowie, Table Rock Camp #1 and Camp Hood, all in Texas. They then went to Camp Phillips, Kansas, briefly before shipping to Devils Lake, North Dakota, to assist with the record wheat harvest.
They participated in the Tennessee maneuvers from November 9, 1943, to January 15, 1944, before moving to Camp Campbell, Kentucky, and then Camp Breckinridge, KY. It was from there that they boarded trains for movement to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to make final preparations for the trip overseas. They shipped out from the New York port on May 30, arriving in England on June 5th. On July 30th, the men finally went ashore at Utah Beach in Normandy, France.
The unit was assigned to the Communications Zone and 12th Army Group security duties between August and December, 1944, and on December 17th, the battalion entered combat near Malmedy, Belgium. On January 16, 1945, they returned to security duties.
The 825th received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Buddy left the service at the rank of Technician 5th Grade.
Buddy returned home to Georgia and made his home in Macon. He and Melba had a son, Larry, and a daughter, Diane. Buddy worked for the Macon Water Authority as a field service supervisor and in his spare time enjoyed playing and later coaching the Water Authority Softball team. He also enjoyed construction and built a pool and several homes for his family.
Buddy passed away on April 20, 2009, and was buried in the Macon Memorial Park Mausoleum. I want to thank Buddy’s great granddaughter, Ansley, for providing the photos and information for this tribute.