Sammy “Sam” Ray Davis

Sammy “Sam” Ray Davis

By Lori Kerns, AFRH-G Librarian

On July 2, 1951, Sammy “Sam” Ray Davis was born in a Morehead, NC hospital.  His family lived on nearby Harkers Island.  His family was made up of his father, an illustrator at the Marine Corps Air Station, his mother, and his older sister.  Before his father was employed with the Marine Corps, he worked as a commercial fisherman.  Sam loved to go speckled trout fishing with his father.  He always felt very comfortable near water since he enjoyed fishing and living on an island.  Growing up, he absolutely hated school.  He decided to quit in ninth grade, after failing three times. He also quit so he could marry his high school sweetheart.  Because he looked up to his uncle that was in the Coast Guard, he went to the Coast Guard recruiter at age 17.  He knew he needed a job to support his soon-to-be wife.  The recruiter originally told him to leave because he didn’t think he could pass the aptitude test to join since he had failed so many times.  Sam took the test in 20 minutes and passed. 

Sam was sent to New Jersey for an eight-week boot camp.  While on boot camp leave, he married his sweetheart.  After boot camp he was sent for his first duty station to Sabine Pass, TX.  He stayed there for about six months and made E-3.  Then he was transferred to Calcasieu, LA.  Here he worked as a radio beacon, radio watch stander, and boat coxswain.  By this time he was promoted to Third Class Petty Officer.  His next duty station was in Pensacola, FL aboard the Coast Guard cutter, Sebago.  USCGC Sebago was originally a WWII destroyer escort that was modified for Coast Guard use.  Aboard Sebago, he made two ocean session patrols from Pensacola to the North Atlantic.  After the decommissioning of the Sebago, Sam was sent across the bay to Santa Rosa where he stood OOD (Office of the Deck) watch.  When his enlistment was about to be up, he transferred to Chincoteague, VA to be closer to home.  Here, working as a boat coxswain.  Next, he was sent to Station Cape Lookout and was an Executive Petty Officer and E-6 for three years then was sent to Key West.  After serving in Key West on the USCGC Diligence for three years, he was transferred to Yorktown, VA to become an instructor for Boatswain’s Mate “A” School.  After teaching, he made chief and went to serve on the USCGC Obion in St. Louis, MO.  Sam thoroughly enjoyed this tour of duty as he did buoy patrols up the Mississippi River from Alton, IL to Davenport, IA.  On the Obion, he was the Executive Petty Officer and Captain of the Blue Crew.  He stayed working on the Mississippi for a while but also began patrolling the Illinois and Missouri Rivers when he became Operations Officer in Keokuk, IA.  He got to ride different Coast Guard units, in addition to commercial vessels.  Close to retirement, he made Warrant Officer and transferred to 7th Coast Guard District in Miami Beach.  He enjoyed this tour of duty but was ready to retire after serving for 20 years and 18 days.  Throughout his military career, his family moved with him to each duty station. 

After his retirement from the Coast Guard, Sam moved back home to help his father with his sign business.  Unfortunately, his father passed away after only three months leaving Sam to keep the sign business afloat.  He operated the business for 13 years and decided to close it.  He became a truck driver.  He finally decided to completely retire after five years of truck driving. 

Sam is the proud father of three children. He has two daughters and had a son that passed away at two days old due to a heart defect.  While living with one of his daughters, she came across AFRH-G and he decided to move in.  He enjoys living at AFRH-G because he doesn’t have to cook and he can do his own thing.  He also enjoys it because the facility is clean and the staff is friendly.  According to him, “If you want to be involved, you can.  If you want to stay in your room all day, nobody bothers you about it.”

Sam is an avid golfer and enjoys racing his remote control sailboat.  He is also one of the spectacular volunteers working in the library.  Sam represents one of two Coast Guard Residents living in the home.  His witty personality makes him a great addition to AFRH-G.