Sergeant Rodney Maxwell Davis USMC

Sgt. Rodney Maxwell Davis

Rodney 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.

(Courtesy USMC)
Medal of Honor 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.

Page revised Apr. 17, 2007