Maxwell Davis, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism
during September 1967 in Vietnam, was born 7 April 1942, in Macon, Georgia.
He attended elementary and high schools there, and graduated from Peter G.
Appling High School in 1961.
Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in his
hometown on 31 August 1961; he then reported for recruit training with the
1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island,
South Carolina. Upon completion of recruit training in December 1961, he was
transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and
underwent individual combat training with the 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry
Training Regiment, graduating the following February.
He then joined Company K, 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, 2d Marine Division, at
Camp Lejeune and served as a rifleman until May 1964. While stationed at Camp
Lejeune, he was promoted to private first class, 1 April 1962, and to lance
corporal, 1 January 1964.
Lance Corporal Davis was ordered to London, England, for a three-year tour of
duty as Guard with the U.S. Marine Detachment, Naval Activities. He was
promoted to corporal, 1 January 1966, and to sergeant, 1 December 1966.
Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam in August 1967, he was assigned duty as a
platoon guide with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine
Division. While serving as the right guide of the Second Platoon against
enemy forces in Quang Nam Province on 6 September 1967, he was mortally
wounded when he threw himself upon a hand grenade to save his comrades from
injury and possible death.
His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the
Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces
Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Military Merit Medal, the
Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
of Honor citation:
President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in
presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to:
Sergeant Rodney M. Davis, USMC
for service as set forth in the following citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty as the right guide of the Second Platoon, Company B,
First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, in action against
enemy forces in Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 6 September 1967.
Elements of the Second Platoon were pinned down by a numerically superior
force of attacking North Vietnamese Army Regulars. Remnants of the platoon
were located in a trench line where Sergeant Davis was directing the fire of
his men in an attempt to repel the enemy attack. Disregarding the enemy hand
grenades and high volume of small arms and mortar fire, Sergeant Davis moved
from man to man shouting words of encouragement to each of them while firing
and throwing grenades at the onrushing enemy. When an enemy grenade landed in
the trench in the midst of his men, Sergeant Davis, realizing the gravity of
the situation, and in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly
threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing with his own body the full and
terrific force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and
inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, Sergeant Davis saved his
comrades from injury and possible loss of life, enabled his platoon to hold
its vital position, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and
the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
/S/ RICHARD M. NIXON