Boardman WWII vet recalls events of war


About 15 years ago, William Lee Davis Jr. attended a raucous reunion of the 63rd Infantry Division – also known as the “Blood and Fire” Division – that fought in World War II.

The men met for a gathering that included a trip to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. While touring the base, they happened to come upon a traveling exhibit about the Holocaust.

The talking and laughter immediately evaporated, recalled Davis’ daughter, Deborah Metzger, who tagged along to the reunion with her two sons.

“Not a sound was heard when they walked through that exhibit,” Metzger said.

Metzger cannot remember her father ever discussing his military service when she was growing up. To this day, however, Davis, 90, can vividly recall the challenges of war and the horrors he witnessed.

Davis, who grew up on Youngstown’s East Side, was drafted in 1943 to serve in the war. A month after his 18th birthday, he was sent to an Army infantry division in Texas.

After a brief stint in Mississippi, he traveled by ship to Europe, landing in Marseilles, France.

His squadron followed the Rhone River as they traveled to Colmar, a town in the Alsace region of France near the German border. The enclave was held by the German Army.

“The word was, you gotta clear that town,” he said.

Read more of his story in Friday's Vindicator or on

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