Georgia Army National Guard soldier Joshua S. Davis, a specialist with the 848th Engineer Company, on Saturday recevied a Purple Heart during a ceremony in the Georgia Garrison Training Center auditorium on post.
The medal is the oldest military decoration in the world still in use. It is awarded to soldiers who are wounded in action during combat operations.
“This is one of the highest awards you could possibly get. I’m just very fortunate to receive this award. You know, most parents receive this award,” Davis said. “I’m very grateful and honored to serve this country.”
Davis enlisted in the Guard in March 2012, shortly after graduating from Pierce County High School. He attended both basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he graduated as a combat engineer. He was assigned to the 848th in Douglas, near Davis’ hometown of Waycross.
Shortly thereafter, the 848th was called to prepare for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. During mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, Davis was selected to operate a HUSKY Mine Detection Vehicle, which is a single-occupancy vehicle.
When the unit arrived in Afghanistan in April 2013, Davis was assigned to the 4th Platoon of the 29th Engineer Company, where he remained throughout the deployment. The 29th was attached to the 848th, Davis’ parent unit.
During a patrol May 30, 2013, Davis was ordered to check beneath the surface of a turnaround point for buried improvised explosive devices. His vehicle’s wheel struck an IED, which detonated. Davis sustained injuries from the blast and was evacuated to a medical-treatment facility, where he was cared for and monitored.
Davis returned to duty and finished out the rest of his combat tour as a Husky driver, locating buried IEDs, until his unit ended its mission and returned home in November 2013.
After Saturday’s award ceremony, Davis’ mother, Marlene Davis, said, “I raised my son in a good, Christian environment, which I think attributed to him being a great soldier. It was by God’s grace that allowed him to come home.”