Our Fathers - Our Tributes

Capt. David Marshall Davies
506 Quartermaster Company
Army

Service in Vietnam
1965 – 1966

Location of Casualty
Saigon

The Wall
Panel 6E, Line 74

Tribute

My father, Captain David Marshall Davies, was mortally wounded in the bombing of the Victoria Hotel in Saigon in the early hours of April 1st, 1966. He died the next day of his injuries, widowing my mother Susan with three small kids (John, 3, Tricia, 2, and Jill, 9 months.) Dad was just three weeks shy of his 26th birthday. Three US military police were also killed in a firefight during the attack – Patrick J Brems, Michael T Mulvaney, and Chester Lee. (Here is a vivid description of that event: https://www.historynet.com/terror-in-the-night-the-victoria-hotel.htm)

I have spent the last dozen or so years getting to know the father I don’t remember. I was lucky that my mom saved many boxes of letters and photos along with a dozen or so reel-to-reel audio tapes that they sent back and forth between Saigon and Seattle. What I discovered is a man who felt stifled and frustrated by the army, who dreamed of getting back to his wife and kids and starting law school. I also learned (thanks to a letter posted on the Vietnam War Memorial website – http://thewall-usa.com/guest.asp?recid=12069) that the only reason he was sent to Vietnam was that someone from another company broke their arm and a replacement was needed with the same rank and credentials. Unlucky to say the least.

In 2009 I was able to travel to Vietnam to experience where he lived and worked: I found the former Victoria Hotel looking almost exactly as it did before the bombing (and scheduled for demolition later that year); I drank a beer in the roof bar of the Hotel Rex where he had sat writing letters; I wandered through the remnants of Camp Davies – the 506 field depot which was the supply hub for the war – dedicated to my dad in October ’66; I visited the hospital where he died of his injuries. I also met other sons and daughters who were there seeking their fathers. It was a pilgrimage I was privileged to make and will never forget.

In February of this year (2020) my 17-year-old son Charlie and I traveled to Washington DC to pay our respects at The Wall. (The irony of naming my son Charlie is not lost on me now, but it never crossed my mind when choosing his name that I was making an unconscious link to the war.) We had a wonderful experience and the good fortune of meeting a Vietnam vet who was also visiting. It was here that a volunteer told me about ‘Sons and Daughters in Touch’ and why I am posting this here today.

This coming April will mark 54 years since my dad lost his life in Vietnam, but his memory is more alive in me now than it ever was, and his grandson is proudly carrying his legacy forward.

I love you Daddy!

 
David Marshall Davies
David Marshall Davies
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