First Sergeant

Sonia H. Davis

Army
Inducted 2004

Sonia H. Davis

Born in July 1922 in Tuskahoma, Okla., Sonia B. (Sonny) Davis graduated from high school where he was known as a talented athlete. After briefly attending A&M College in Wilburton, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940. In 1941 he joined the U.S. Army and arrived in the Philippine Islands in May, assigned to the 59th Coast Artillery Regiment on Corregidor Island. He and his unit defended the island fortress from Japanese attacks from December 1941 until May 8, 1942, when the command surrendered.

Davis endured countless hardships as a prisoner of war to include starvation, cramped and unsanitary conditions on train box cars, prison cells and prisoner ships. Ultimately sent to Japan on a ship that narrowly missed a torpedo sinking, Davis was sent to Osaka, Japan to endure forced labor as a stevedore in a railroad yard. He then was moved to Tanagawa, Japan, to work in building a dry dock, and to Ikuno, Japan to work in lead and zinc mines until the end of the war.

After recovering in hospitals in the U.S., Davis ultimately remained in the Army for more than 22 years, serving three more tours of overseas duty in Italy, Taiwan and Germany. He retired in June 1963 as a First Sergeant. He received the Bronze Star, Army Commendation, Good Conduct, Prisoner of War and Oklahoma Cross of Valor medals, among others. He also received the Presidential Unit Citation with two oak lea clusters and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

In later life he worked for the Oklahoma Veterans Center, Talihina Division, and managed a farm with his family. Known widely for his cheerful disposition despite the hardships he endured, Davis is active in community service to include work in the Masonic Lodge and as a Deacon of his local church.