Tommie O. Davis
West Virginia State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum Association is
proud to announce that Tommie O. Davis of Carlyle, near Oak Hill, West
Virginia, now, of Newark, Delaware was inducted into the West Virginia
State CCC Museum Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 18, 2014
at ceremonies at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church.
Davis was born March 6, 1924. He attended the Whipple School to the sixth grade because of the severity of the Depression. “We had to buy our own books, and it was difficult for us. I was lucky to get that. We didn't have much.” His father was a coal miner working in a shaft that was over 500 feet deep and was in several accidents. “My parents were very happy that I went into the CCC so I would help the family survive.
Davis signed up at Clifttop and took a bus to Fayetteville, West Virginia on October 31, 1940. He then went on to Camp Anthony Wayne Company at Defiance, Ohio. Defiance is an area of Amish and beautiful farm country. “I was 16 when I went into the CCC. We cleaned out around the creeks, the brush. We had bulldozers and helped build roads. I took welding at CCC, but I never used it later. I served six months. That's what I signed up for. Out March 24, 1941. I had only been to Charleston. This was the furthest away from home I had ever been. We had a few pranks for the guys that were coming on. One of the fellows had a car and took us home to Oak Hill for Christmas in 1940. He charged us about $3 a piece. It was a very nice Christmas. I thought it was really smart of Roosevelt to start this program. People really needed the money. It really helped my family. The food was good, very good. We had some CCCs from Oregon and Redwood, California, there, too. There was a colored boy in very bad shape in the cold, nearly frozen to death. We Boys helped that boy get help for his condition. I looked out the barracks door and saw this boy, terrible shoes, we brought him into the barracks and got him warm. He had blisters all over him. Then they picked him up and took him to the local hospital. We felt like we saved his life. Four of us went over to visit him in the hospital. We had a bunch of CCC at Clifftop. The CCC did a lot of beautiful work. Particulary, impressed with the work near Oak Hill, at Clifftop.”
Davis entered the U.S. Army August 14, 1941 and was sent to Fort Leonard Wood. The CCC had prepared him to become accustomed to the military. He was thensent to Portland, Oregon with an engineers battalion. Then, he shipped out to Skagway, Alaska then the White Pass on a train. Then, on to White Horse, Alaska. He operated a D8 dozer on the Alcan Highway. They had seven regiments moving up there. He helped build the Alcan Highway. He slept in tents all the time. It was very cold and got 70 below zero. Some outfits had a number of soldiers who froze to death. He was then sent by ship to the Aleutian Islands where the fighting was heavy. He saw Japanese prisoners. They heldped build a runway so the P40s could get off as the Japanese were bombing. One Japanese plane, a Zero, landed in a swamp and turned over. The pilot was captured and plane was sent to California for study by intelligence. Shimia runway, and Japanese were on Kiska (Japanese Sub Base) He met a fellow ice skating who had served in the CCC. He was still serving in the CCC when Davis was in the Army.
After the war, Davis worked in the coal mines near Oak Hill for a time then, when opportunity knocked, he moved to Newark, Delaware. There he got a good job with Chrystler Corporation. He retired with over thirty years service. Married, Davis had five children, a set of Twins, Joseph and Jacob, and Richard, Brenda and Sharon. He has twelve grandchildren.
Our Honoree was an avid hunter who still raises coon dogs. He loves to bowl, and is a big Phillies fan. He loves baseball. Mr. Davis has always had a deep faith in God.
Davis and his son Rick attended the Fall 2015 Jubilee Reunion, driving all the way from Delaware. He spoke briefly of his experiences in the CCC. He also represented West Virginia, the U.S. Marines, and all Medal of Honor winners at the December 27, 2013 Military Bowl held at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Tommie Davis in the CCC at Camp Wayne in Defiance, Ohio.
Mr Davis speaking about his CCC experiences at the Fall 2015 Jubilee Reunion.