Marine Sgt. Cleo Baxter Davis gave his life to his country at 22 years old.
Davis was the first Warren Countian killed during action in World War I. He died during the Battle of Belleau Wood near the Marne River in France, a three-week, hard-won battle that resulted in about 10,000 American casualties that included more than 1,800 killed.
It was during this battle that the German’s coined the phrase “devil dogs” to describe the members of the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran Don Butler said.
Butler is a member of the Franklin R. Sousley Detachment 1095 Marine Corps League, the organization that held a ceremony honoring Davis’ sacrifice Wednesday at Davis’ gravesite in Fairview Cemetery.
Davis was born in Bowling Green Feb. 11, 1896 and attended public schools here. He attended Ogden College for one year prior to his military service, Butler said.
He deployed to the European theater in 1916.
“Freedom is never free,” Marine Corps League Chaplain Jim Kelley said during the service. “There is a price for freedom.”
One day before Davis was killed in action, his mother Mattie Davis who lived at 1177 Kentucky Street, received a latter from the son everyone called “Bud,” Butler said during the ceremony.
In that letter, he told his mother about a dream he had about reuniting with his family in the United States and the disappointment he felt when he awakened to the fact that the images were merely a dream and he was still away at war.
The ceremony ended with the Bowling Green Police Department Honor Guard providing the Three Volley Salute and Marine Corps League member Malcolm Cherry playing Taps.