MERIDIANVILLE, Ala. - Serving in the US Army did not top the list of goals E4 (Ret.) Johnny Davis set for himself as a teenager. But, the draft for the Vietnam War brought it to the top spot.
It's taken decades for Davis to talk about the Vietnam War, even to his loved ones.
"I've been married for 44 years to my wife," E4 (Ret.) Davis said. " She didn't know anything about the medals, and my three children didn't know anything about them, and none of my friends knew anything about it, I just, I didn't talk about it."
News from the Madison County Military Heritage Commission's induction into the Hall of Heroes recently brought his past to his present.
"Sometimes you feel like you've kept that part away from them, and they need to know," E4 (Ret.) Davis said.
Perhaps it's difficult because the Vietnam War was not part of the life Davis wanted for himself at the time.
"I was drafted, I had a low number," E4 (Ret.) Davis said. "They did a number system and I was like 60 some, so when I got my letter to go, it wasn't a shock really because I knew I was probably going to have to go."
A few weeks after training, Davis received orders sending him to Cam Ranh Bay.
"I was a crew chief gunner on a Huey helicopter," E4 (Ret.) Davis explained. "I was in a calv unit, first aviation division, B trip 77 calv."
Now, a year in Vietnam is memorialized in the form of medals and mementos he's gained.
He has gained a lot since his service: a wife, children, grandchildren. But, he still grieves the loss of what he lost, what our country lost.
"The true hero in my eyes is the ones that didn't come back and the 1,600 that's MIA," E4 (Ret.) Davis said.
On November 10, in front of his fellow battle buddies, Davis brought up his service one more time as he entered the Hall of Heroes.
"I'm honored to be asked and accepted," E4 (Ret.) Davis said.