|From The Daily World thedailyworld.com
Monte grad dies in Afghanistan
By Steven Friederich - The Daily World
Saturday, February 21, 2009 12:30 AM PST
MONTESANO — Staff Sgt. Timothy P. Davis was continuing a long family history of military service when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force a decade ago, his mother Sally Sheldon said.
But on Friday, with three uniformed Air Force personnel on her doorstep, she got the news no mother ever wants to hear.
Davis was killed in the Oruzgan province of Afghanistan on Friday. According to an official letter from Major Gen. K.C. McClain, Commander of the Air Force Personnel Center, she received and shared with The Daily World, the death was from “the result of injuries received from an improvised explosive device.”
The letter notes that further details were unavailable but asked Mrs. Sheldon to “please accept the Air Force’s deepest condolences.”
“They told me he died quickly,” Mrs. Sheldon said. “He knew the Lord and he brought me much honor.”
Davis, who just turned 28, would have been married for five years next month. He has a 1-year-old son, Timmy Junior, who also went by T.J.
“My breath has just been taken away,” his wife Meagan said by phone from Spokane. “I am still in shock.”
He met Meagan while training at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane.
Tim Davis, his wife Meagan, and their son Tim Jr. pose for a family photo before he was deployed.��
His dad, Mike, lives in Ocean Shores. His mom lives in South Aberdeen. His siblings include Ben, 29, of Texas; and younger sister Noel, 26, of Burien. Much of his extended family lives in the Montesano area.
Davis grew up in Montesano, graduating from Monte High School in 1999. He was an accomplished wrestler who once took seventh in a state tournament and played on the football team, his mother said.
His unit was based out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., where he was part of the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron and worked as a combat controller, his wife said.
Memorial Services will be conducted for Davis in Florida, but, per his wishes, he will be flown to Montesano for another service. He’ll be buried in the Harbor area, his aunt Mary Sheldon said.
His father, Mike Davis, noted that his son had recently attended the funeral of another combat controller and recognized that he may very well die some day himself.
“He told me, ‘I don’t want you to be stuck in a grieving mood. I want you to get through it and move on. Think about all of those fishing moments and Dad Sundays.’ ”
His uncle Jim Sheldon noted that Davis had been given everything from underwater training to land survival and parachute training.
“He worked with a little cadre of Green Berets calling in coordinates and taking the lay of the land to call in fire power and air strikes,” Jim said.
On more than one occasion he put himself in harm’s way, his family members said.
His whole unit had won a Bronze Star for their actions during one combat outing. When he was wounded with shrapnel another time, Davis was awarded a Purple Heart. Because he didn’t lose a limb, his family said Davis always said he didn’t deserve the award.
“He just called me the week before and said his friend got shot in the face, a Green Beret, and he was worried,” Jim said, noting he really got to know Davis when he came to live with him and his wife Mary for two years during high school.
“He couldn’t really tell me what was going on. But I knew. I said, ‘It’s escalating isn’t it?’ But he didn’t say anything. And I said, ‘You don’t have to tell me everything, I know.’ ”
Mrs. Sheldon said she had been worried after hearing President Obama’s announcement on Tuesday that another 17,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines would be sent to Afghanistan to join the 38,000 troops already there.
In Obama’s announcement, the president stated, “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.”
“As soon as I heard that I was worried,” Mrs. Sheldon said. “I was worried we weren’t doing well.”
His uncle John Sheldon said he had heard from Tim as soon as last week.
“I was concerned about him ever since he got wounded the first time,” John said. “Tim was asking me for some advice to invest his money. I told him, ‘Don’t do the young man thing and blow all of your money. Save for your future.’ And he was doing that.”
John is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Air Force, too. Two of John’s uncles were in the Air Force and his dad Buck was in the Army. Buck was captured in North Africa during World War II, but survived and earned his own Purple Heart for enduring the pain and suffering that went with two years of imprisonment.
“Tim always wanted to serve,” John said.
“Tim was the glue (of our family),” his brother Ben added by phone. “He was always taking charge … protecting me. He was very strong willed, very strong minded. He was just a great person.”
His Aunt Mary recounted a story about the young Davis trying to be tough and fearless. He had decided to take his bike behind Monte High, where there is a large hill, and ride down with no hands on the handlebars and closed eyes. He crashed and came back with his chin split open and bleeding.
When they took him to the hospital, and they injected the local anesthetic into his chin, she said, “he didn’t make a sound. There was never any doubt he was tough.”
Davis also had a lot of nicknames. During basic training, his unit called him “The Rock,” because he could always be counted on. His mom called him “Tim-Bo” — akin to “Rambo” from the war movies.
“As a little boy, I also called him ‘my little mountain goat’ because he always climbed on everything,” his mom said.
His uncle Jim called him “Slider” because when Davis was younger, he let a jar of peanuts slide from his hand and land on the floor of a buddy’s truck who was a stickler for having a spotless rig.
His uncle John noted that one of Tim’s favorite movie heroes was John Wayne.
“And, like John Wayne, he didn’t talk a lot but when he did, he said something that meant a lot,” John said. “We’ll miss him.”
“He would be the first one in and the last one out,” his dad added. “He hated what was going on around the world and wanted to make a difference.”
The Associated Press reports that as of Thursday morning at least 581 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.
Of those, the military reports 426 were killed by hostile action. Davis is not yet included in those figures.
Daily World City Editor Dan Jackson contributed to this story.
Steven Friederich, a Daily World writer, can be reached at (360) 537-3927 or by e-mail at