Arts, Culture & Media

A Veteran's Story: Why I Chose Infantry

Men and women join the military for different reasons. And they have can have wildly different experiences, depending on luck, and the choices they make. We get to know one ordinary veteran, with what might be called an ordinary set of experiences. Anchor Marco Werman gets Russ Davis from Braintree, Massachusetts, to tell his story.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

On Memorial Day, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for this country.

Men and women join the military for different reasons.

And they have can have wildly different experiences, depending on luck, and the choices they make.

We got to know one ordinary veteran, with what might be called an ordinary set of experiences.

Russ Davis is from Braintree, Massachusetts.

Davis joined the army while unemployed after 9-11.

"A lot of folks sign up for college money or to learn a trade," Davis tells anchor Marco Werman. "I signed up because I wanted to fight."

He chose the infantry, the branch of service with the highest casualty rate. "The way I put it is, when everyone was kids, no-one played with the GI Joe computer repair man."

"And also I felt that was where I could contribute the most, and contribute the hardest. Do the thing most people don't want to do."
The U.S.Army's Combat Infantry Badge, coveted by some (Photo: Wiki Commons)

The U.S.Army's Combat Infantry Badge, coveted by some (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Davis got to fight, with two tours in Iraq. War has "good days and bad days", Davis says. "The best part of the whole thing was — some people say it's a cliche, but it's really not, you know: the whole band of brothers thing. You never forget the guys you serve with."

"To this day, they're still some of the finest people I ever knew."

"War, to put simply, it's bad. It's not a good time. But when you get out of it, it's something I wouldn't trade for anything. (It) makes you appreciate what you got."

Davis was injured by a spent bullet in the last week of his second deployment. He was badly bruised in the backside, earning him the nickname, 'Iron Ass.'

He's now out of the military and training to be a mental health counselor to help other returning veterans.

  • russ-in-desert-cropped2.jpg

    Russ Davis and the rest of 1st Platoon, "C"Company, 2-14, 10th Mountain Division, in Iraq, 2005 (Photo: Russ Davis)

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    Russ Davis outside The World's studio in Boston (Photo: Marco Werman/The World)

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    The U.S.Army's Combat Infantry Badge, coveted by some (Photo: Wiki Commons)

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    One of Russ Davis's buddies who didn't come home: Staff Sergeant Jason Arnette, Arlington National Cemetary. (Photo: Russ Davis)

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    Russ Davis with some members of 1st Platoon, "C"Company, 2-14, 10th Mountain Division, in Iraq, 2005 (Photo: Russ Davis)

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