On Saturday Morning, September 12th, 2020, members of the Collinwood American Legion Post 254 Honors Team and two members of the Waynesboro Post 130 performed a Bridge Dedication Ceremony in honor of Army Technician 5th Class Milas M. Davis, Sr., a Veteran of World War II, who performed Combat duty in the Southern Philippines, Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa, Japan. Many family members, friends, and local and State Dignitaries were present for the dedication, and a wonderful meal was provided by the Davis family after the event.
The bridge, which is located on Kilburn Branch Road a few miles east of Collinwood in the Shawnettee community, was approved by the Wayne County Legislative body on January 20th, 2020. State Representative David Byrd was present and presented a Proclamation concerning Mr. Davis and his life in Wayne County. Next, a plaque was presented to the family that was handmade by American legion Post 130 member Ron Tripp. After the presentation, Wayne County Mayor Jim Mangubat, who is a long-time friend of the family, read the following biography concerning Mr. Davis:
Milas McKinley Davis, Sr. was born on November 21st, 1919 in Waynesboro, Tennessee to Milas Greenberry and Annie Bell Fowler Davis. Milas had three siblings, Sallie Davis McWilliams, Lula Belle Davis Hardin, and Viola Davis Freeman.
Milas attended school through the 7th grade before having to go to work fulltime on the family farm in 1933. Milas was a Farmer and Truck Driver and operated an 85 acre farm on Rural Route 5, Waynesboro where he raised Hay, Corn, and Peanuts. He married the love of his life, Ms. Ruby Kilburn and they had 4 children; Milas, Jr. (Glenda Sue), Glenda K. Ray (Jerry), Cathy Dicus (Deceased), and Edward (Sylvia). They have 15 Grandchildren, 35 Great Grandchildren, and 29 Great-Great Grandchildren.
Milas was inducted into the United States Army on December 20th, 1942 and entered active service seven days later on December 27th at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. He spent the next three months in Coast Artillery Basic Training. After Basic he was sent to Camp Walters, Texas where he completed six weeks of training as an Automotive Mechanic. Corporal Davis was then assigned as a Heavy Truck Driver in Headquarters Company of the 24th Corps of the Army of the United States. His unit began training in preparation for Combat Duty in the Pacific Theater. He trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, Camp Carson, Colorado, Fort Meade, Maryland, and Fort Sheridan, Illinois before shipping out for the Southern Philippines on December 19th, 1944. He was stationed on the Island of Leyte and later on Okinawa. He was in battles in the Southern Philippines and the Ryukyu Islands before returning to the United States on December 16th, 1945. Tec 5 Davis’ decorations included the World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Service Stars, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one Bronze Star.
Tec 5 Davis was discharged from the Army at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas on December 29th, 1945 and returned home to his family in Waynesboro where he began his Trucking Operation again. Milas, Sr. died on December 16th, 1987 at the age of 68 years and 25 days old. He is laid to rest in the Shields Cemetery in Waynesboro, Tennessee.
We are all very proud of Mr. Davis and his Honorable and Faithful Service to our Country and we thank the Davis Family for the Service, Sacrifice, and Hardships that Mr. Davis and his family endured for our Freedom. May all who pass by these memorial signs on Kilburn Branch Road, pause and think about the sacrifice and hardships made, both on the battlefield and at home, to keep our country safe and free!
Submitted by: Randy Chambers
Photos courtesy of Peggy Chambers