Eleven brothers from a peasant family in Alabama have 158 years of combined military service between them after serving in the US Army, Navy, or Air Force.
Seven of the 11 Davis brothers recently met in a hotel and casino in Mississippi mid-July for a reunion full of brotherly love and military pride.
Lebronze, 70; Augusta, 67; Octavious, 80; Frederick, 68; Julius, 73; Eddie, 89; Nathaniel, 75, all attended the reunion.
Three of their brothers – Ben Jr., 72; Calvin, 71; and Alphonza – could not be present and one of their brothers and sisters, Washington, died in 2017.
Their military service extends over the navy, the army and the air force.
Eddie Davis and his brothers Julius, Octavious, Lebronze, Frederick, Augusta and Nathaniel (from left to right) pose for a photo behind a family photo of them and their brothers. Together they have a total of 158 years of service with the US Army
The oldest, Eddie, served in both the army and the air force during his 23-year military career.
Eddie served in the Vietnam War and was accompanied by Frederick, Julius and Lebronze.
Ben Jr. was the first brother to join the navy in 1944 while the Second World War was still raging.
Augusta served in the Air Force for four years and then in the Air Force Reserve until 1998.
Lebronze saw the toughest fights of the group: he survived jungle ambushes as an army soldier in Vietnam, where he developed advanced naps.
& # 39; I can go out in any bushes and sleep like a Holiday Inn, & # 39; Lebronze said. & # 39; You learn how to do it because you are so tired. But guess what, you hear a mosquito pass by. & # 39;
The brothers-in-arms were all raised on their family farm in the Alabama countryside by their parents Ben and Hattie Davis.
There are a total of 16 siblings – the 11 veterans, plus three sisters and two brothers who did not enter the army.
Eddie served in both the army and the air force during his 23-year military career. Ben Jr. was the first brother to join the navy in 1944 while the Second World War was still raging
Lebronze saw the toughest fights of the group: he survived jungle ambushes as a soldier of the army in Vietnam. Julius accompanied him in the army in Vietnam
Alphonza served in the army for 29 years and his brother Octavious is also a veteran in the army
They grew up on a 60-hectare cotton farm in Wetumpka, Alabama, where their parents worked hard to put food on the table.
The veterans say their mother was the disciplinary, while their father had a softer approach.
& # 39; Their moral and ethical values were unspoiled & # 39 ;, said the younger brother, Augusta.
Washington, who was a six-year-old veteran, died in 2017
When the boys finished high school, it seemed logical to join the army.
In their years after their service, the brothers worked as electricians and business people for the US postal service and the prison office.
The brothers say they often talk and try to get together every year.
This year, seven of them traveled to Tunica, Mississippi, for some gambling and buffet action to celebrate three July birthdays.
The appeal in Davis contains a mix of personalities.
Octavious, the brothers say, is the joke maker. He was an army veteran and laughed when he told a joke in the woods.
& # 39; We just enjoy being together and talking about waste and just having a good time, & # 39; said Octavious. & # 39; We are all close. & # 39;
Frederick served alongside some of his brothers in the Vietnam war and Calvin spent four years with the navy
Nathaniel is a veteran in the army, while Augusta served in the air force for four years and then in the air force reserve until 1998
MILITARY SERVICE OF THE DAVIS BROTHERS
Lebronze Davis: Army – served in Vietnam
Augusta Davis: Air force
Ben Jr. Davis: Marine
Octavious Davis: Army
Frederick Davis: Army – served in Vietnam
Julius Davis: Army – served in Vietnam
Eddie Davis: Army and air force – served in Vietnam
Nathaniel Davis: Army
Alphonza Davis: Army
Calvin Davis: Marine
Washington Davis: Army
Lebronze is known as the simple brother. Frederick – the serious – and the more practical Julius accompanied him in the army in Vietnam.
Eddie also served during Vietnam, but that was only part of his 23-year career with the army and air force. He has a more spiritual side, while army veteran Nathaniel is no-nonsense.
Washington, a six-year-old veteran, has died.
Ben, Alphonza, who served in the army for 29 years, and Calvin, who worked in the navy for four years, could not be present.
During the recent reunion, the brothers laughed together, told stories of their time growing up and serving the country, and recalled what it was like to be black in the US Army in the 20th century in America.
But in the end they spoke less about racism than the lack of respect that all veterans feel from their fellow Americans.
& # 39; Being in the army, it was good, & # 39; Lebronze said. & # 39; We all think we have done an excellent job. & # 39;
The brothers have clearly shared personality traits: kindness, strong work ethic, mutual respect.
But they also remember that they were not respected, including the only white drinking fountains and & # 39; only colored & # 39; waiting areas that they endure while growing up in the years of legal segregation.
& # 39; These were the standards we saw, & # 39; said Nathaniel.
Eddie, Frederick, Augusta, Octavious, Nathaniel, Julius and Lebronze chat during a reunion at a hotel casino in Mississippi
Augusta Davis, left, and his brothers Nathaniel, center, and Lebronze speak during their reunion in mid-July
Frederick Davis, left, and his brothers Eddie, second left, Julius, second right, and Octavious held a family reunion in a hotel casino earlier this month
However, the brothers say that they have not experienced much racism in the army.
Julius remembers that his base in Mobile, Alabama, was notified the day Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.
& # 39; Everyone thought black people would tear up the city, & # 39; he said.
Octavious says that the brothers do not often talk to each other about their military experiences. Lebronze won't watch war movies and he doesn't even dream about his time in Vietnam.
But they all have a collective & # 39; no & # 39; as an answer to one question: are veterans respected today as much as in the past?
Augusta says he expresses the over-used expression & # 39; thank you for your service & # 39; has become tired.
& # 39; I'd much rather hear them say: & # 39; Thank you for helping keep this country free. & # 39;
Military experience takes a long time in the Davis family with their uncle, 99-year-old master Sgt. Thomas Davis, surviving surprise attack from Pearl Harbor.
In 2017, the Davis men were honored by the National Infantry Museum Foundation and all 11 of their names, as well as their uncle who served, are engraved on four paving stones installed in the museum.
& # 39; What these brothers did out of love for both family and country is nothing short of remarkable & # 39 ;, said foundation president Pete Jones.
& # 39; Their sense of duty is unparalleled and is the kind of spirit that makes our nation's armed forces the best in the world. & # 39;
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