James Kenneth Davis first entered the armed forces as an enlisted man in the 45th Infantry Division (National Guard) in 1940 in Oklahoma. He served as an enlisted man from Sept. 16, 1940 to Feb. 16, 1941. He received a direct commission to 1st Lt. and transferred to the the 101st paratroop division and was assigned to the 506th PIR 2nd Battalion. His service number was O 404 800. The record shows that he trained for a short time with Company E and then transferred to HQ Company as the XO. He is identifies in a group picture of HQ Company taken at FT. Bragg, NC in August of 1943. About 70 days before D-Day he was given a Special Duty assignment as the Assistant to the S-4 at Regimental HQ's. Kenneth was sent on a short mission shortly before the call to assemble for D-Day and was not present until the last few hours before the attack was launched. He apparently found a place on a plane that was not his assigned position and may have dropped into Normandy with a group of men that he did not know.
He was dropped far off the intended drop point and landed in water. He was able to cut his chute and equipment to free himself and during the first day joined two or three others who had dropped with him. They had no communication equipment and only their personnel weapons with a few rounds of ammunition. They were fired on by a German machine gun but escaped injury. During the night they tried to move away from the enemy positions but were seen and captured. After a few days he escaped and tried again to reach American forces but was again captured. He was shipped to POW Camp 045 in Poland. As the Russian forces approached the camp in 1945 he once again escaped and joined the Russians. They provided transportation to the Black Sea where he boarded a ship with many other former POW's and returned home.
He was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, the WWII Service label button, the WWII Victory Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Shortly after the war ended Kenneth returned to Germany and worked for the occupation forces as a administrator with a local fire department. He remained in Germany for several years and returned home in about 1953 with a new wife and three young children. Kenneth died on August 9, 2000 in Kennewick, Washington at the age of 88.
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