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March 7, 2018

Remington bridge honors local World War II hero

U.S. Army Technical Sgt. Harold J. Davis fought in Operation Torch, Crucifix Hill, Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge.
Sergeant Davis lived his entire life, both before and after his military service, in a way we should all strive to emulate.
— Brian Scannon, American Legion post commander
The new sign at a bridge just east of Remington honors a hometown hero.

U.S. Army Technical Sgt. Harold J. Davis fought his way across Europe in World War II, during which he received the Bronze Star, four Purple Hearts and other commendations.

The Fauquier Veterans Bridge Council on Saturday morning dedicated the span to Mr. Davis, who died at age 89 in 2010.

Remington American Legion Post 247 Commander Brian Scannon served as the master of ceremonies and delivered these remarks:

Today marks a great day in our community’s storied history. Remington American Legion Post 247 was formed in January 1947 with a handful of local veterans who served our country honorably and wished to continue that service. One of those charter members was TSgt Harold J. Davis.

Born on June 4, 1920, in Sparrows Point, Maryland, he lived his life in Remington and Culpeper. On November 13, 1941, he entered the U.S. Army and was immediately sent to Europe and into battle during the Second World War.

During his career Sergeant Davis served as platoon sergeant and fought in Operation Torch, Crucifix Hill, Omaha Beach and the Battle of the Bulge. Incredibly, in each battle Sergeant Davis would be wounded, sent for medical care, and then he immediately returned to battle.

On March 1, 1945, while advancing on a small town near the Erf River, his platoon was under heavy artillery fire. A shell landed nearby him and pieces of shrapnel hit him in the arm and leg. He hobbled about 600 yards toward an aid station and then fell. It was these wounds that ended his participation in the War and he was ultimately sent back home for treatment.

Sergeant Davis spent 32 months and 13 days fighting in World War II. For his actions Sergeant Davis was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Four Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with Valor.

When I learned of Sergeant Davis, his life, his career, and his being a charter member of our post, it became absolutely crucial that I nominate him for a bridge naming. As with any organization, there is a process for everything, and sometimes that process is tedious and painful. But as I look back on what we did, the time spent and the research we put into this, I know in my heart and hopefully in the heart of all our citizens, this is the right thing to do.

Sergeant Davis lived his entire life, both before and after his military service, in a way we should all strive to emulate. He was always serving others. He loved his wife and family and when he returned home from war his own words signified how honorable he truly is.

He said: “I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive. I saw so much action, and although wounded in all four campaign, I ended up with just a few extra pieces of shrapnel weighing me down and a few scars. I consider myself one of the lucky soldiers, because I returned home in one piece.”

I stand here today to dedicate this bridge in his honor and am truly humbled and in awe of his life accomplishments. Every time I and everyone else drives over this bridge and sees the signs, a physical memory of TSgt. Davis that will be proudly displayed, I will remember his story, his sacrifice, and the fact I am here today because of his selfless actions to protect our great nation.

The Virginia Department of Transportation built the Tinpot Run bridge in 2013 at a cost of $3.6 million. The two-lane span carries traffic over a stream that frequently overflows its banks, flooding the area. Trimmed in fieldstone, it also has a biking/walking trail. The bridge connects subdivisions to the east with the Town of Remington.

The bridge council previously dedicated two other spans to Fauquier military veterans:

• The Opal Bypass bridge for Medal of Honor Recipient William Shacklette of Delaplane. He earned distinction for actions after the USS Bennington exploded at San Diego in July 1905.

• The Meetze Road bridge over Warrenton’s Eastern Bypass for U.S. Army PFC Clay Preston Rankin. He received the Silver Star. He earned distinction for courage under machine gun fire on the front lines during World War I.

Naming a bridge for a veteran requires Commonwealth Transportation Board approval. The Fauquier Veterans Bridge Council formed in 2013. All five American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Fauquier participate.
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