Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Marion County WWII vet is turning 100 and his friends want the community to help celebrate

Birthday cake. (Unsplash)

Ninety-nine-year-old Asa Davison credits a copy of The Holy Bible for saving his life when he was 19.

He had dropped out of Fairmont’s all-Black Dunbar High School to seek employment but eventually enlisted in the Army in 1943. After basic training, he shipped out first to Guadalcanal, but when it came time to fight, he was stationed in Biak, New Guinea.

One night after hours of bombing from the enemy, there was a sudden silence that made Davison curious, so he climbed out of his 4×4 foxhole alone to try and find out what was going on.

“All at once something hit me — boom — knocked me down. I fell to the ground,” Davison said in a previous interview in 2016. “I was laying there and I thought I was losing my mind. I was the only one out in the open.”

He felt pain in his chest and around his back.

“I was feeling on myself trying to see what was what. I reached and pulled the Bible out,” he said. “There was a big indentation on that Bible. I don’t know if it was shrapnel or a bullet or what. I never did find out.”

He had been struck by enemy fire while serving in the all-Black enlisted 369th Infantry Regiment.

The Bible, which was a gift from his mother, had a metal plate inside that saved him from death that night.

He went on to serve three years in the segregated Army and returned to Fairmont where he and his wife raised their family.

This week, Davison’s friend Kip Price, and other military advocates are going to help Davison — Marion County’s oldest living WWII veteran — celebrate his 100th birthday. Price is also hoping the community can chip in by sending Davison a birthday card as well.

“Please tell others as we are hoping he gets 100 cards or more,” Price said in an email. Price asks that birthday cards be mailed to: Asa Davison, c/o St. Barbara’s Nursing Home, Room 14, 134 St. Barbara’s Rd., Monongah, WV 26554.

Last September, Price and David Tucker, with the Marion County Historical Society and Museum presented Davison with a plaque and held a small celebration honoring his military service.

During his years, as a Black man, Davison endured a lot of unnecessary hardship simply because of the color of his skin. For example, the white soldiers were on the second level of the ship traveling to Guadalcanal, while the Black soldiers were in the lower deck, separated.

“African American troops had it so hard,” Tucker, himself a veteran, said in September. “A lot of times they had to make do with substandard equipment the white soldiers discarded, and they had to do dangerous or humiliating jobs. But they distinguished themselves magnificently.”

When he retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1983, Davison began giving presentations to schools and other groups about his time in the military while telling his personal story.

“Mr. Asa is such a treasure,” Price said in a prior interview. “The students just love him. There was one student at East Fairmont Junior High that asked if he could give him a hug. That’s just special.”


(c) 2024 the Times West Virginian

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.