TUCKER COUNTY — By enlisting in the military just one year after getting his high school diploma, Arlie Shawn Davis was able to start working in the field he had always dreamed about — aviation.
Upon graduating from Tucker County High School in 1984, Davis joined the United States Army in 1985 and was sent to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After completing basic training he went to advanced individual training for six months in Fort Eustis, Virginia to become an aircraft electrician.
“I always loved aviation and the military was one of those places that let me go work on multi-million dollar aircrafts basically right out of high school,” said Davis, who retired as a First Sergeant in 2007 after 22 years of service. “I went to the six-month AIT where we learned basic electronics and spent multiple weeks learning each different air frame.”
Davis worked on all of the Army’s rotary wing aircraft over the years, including the UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra, UH-60 Blackhawk, CH-47 Chinook, OV-1D Mohawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters, eventually was promoted to Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor-Production Control Supervisor, managing and scheduling repairs and services for aircrafts and their components.
Davis’ stateside assignments included: 1st Cavalry Division (Fort Hood, Texas), 18th Airborne Corps (Fort Bragg, North Carolina), Aircraft and Basic Electronics Instructor (Fort Eustis, Virginia), and First Sergeant with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. His deployments included a tour to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield/Storm), two tours to Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom), and four tours to the Republic of Korea.
“There was a big change in Korea from the first time I went to the last,” said Davis. “The first time I went was in 1985 and I was there again in 1988 for the Olympics. When I went back in 1998 until 2001 it was a big boom in their economy. You saw the expansion and the modernization over there after the Olympics. The joke we said while we were there was ‘Korea would be a great place if they stopped building it.’”
Davis earned numerous military awards, including the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, multiple Army Accommodation Medals and Army Achievement Medals, and the Senior Aircrew Badge.
After his retirement he worked in Iraq as a military contractor supporting Operation Iraq Freedom. He currently works as a Quality Assurance Specialist for the Defense Contract Management Agency out of Syracuse, New York.
“The people you get to meet and work with is one of the best things about being in the military,” said Davis. “You get to build some long-standing relationships with people. I have a good friend that I met back in 1994 that is the closest thing I have to a brother. We’re still really good friends today.”
Davis has been married to his wife Young E for 32 years. They have two sons, Andrew and wife Heather Davis of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Nathan of Evans Mills, New York. Andrew is a marketing lead for PNC Bank, and Nathan is a physical education teacher, and a football and lacrosse coach.
“Most 18-year olds that come out of high school don’t know what they want to do with their lives,” Davis said. “The military is a great place for them to go out and see the world, earn a paycheck, and get leadership and experience. All while serving your country.”
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox