War in Afghanistan claims life of former Watauga resident
Mother's premonition proves to be true
By Kathy Helms-Hughes
Linda Davis, the mother of Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald
Davis, awoke Wednesday morning with a feeling she couldn't shake.
"I felt bad, like there was something wrong. I really
didn't know what," she said.
Call it mother's intuition.
By noon, her worst fears were realized. Army officers
from the ROTC program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson
City came to deliver the message that her son had been killed in Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Davis, 39, of Watauga; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel
Petithory, 32, of Massachusetts; and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser,
28, of California were killed Wednesday by friendly fire when an Air
Force B-52 bomber missed its target, dropping a bomb carrying 2,000
pounds of explosives near U.S. soldiers' position north of Kandahar.
Mrs. Davis felt so strongly that something was wrong,
she stayed home, rather than go to The Barn Shoppe to help her husband,
Lon, with the family business.
"I was obsessed with the TV, and I heard (initial reports
that) these two boys got killed. I kept praying the other boys would
be all right and hoping that mine wasn't in it. I had no idea. I went
outside and did a little yard work and came back in.
"Lon came up from the store -- it must have been about
11:30 a.m. -- and we were talking and I said, 'What happens if your
son or somebody gets killed? How do they tell you?'
"He said, 'They come and tell you.'
"I told him, 'I have a bad feeling. I just don't feel
"I don't know if it was a premonition or what. I just
said, 'Oh,' and I went on back to ironing. And then it wasn't 15 minutes
and these men were standing at my door. I didn't even want to look
at them because I knew what they were there for.
"It was just such a shock. Poor little Lon. I guess I
left him hanging there. I didn't want to talk to them," she said.
"Donnie" Davis, as he was known by friends and family,
"was always for the underdog," his father said, and "had a heart as
big as Texas," according to his mother. "He was always very considerate."
He became interested in the military after taking a class
"He came home one day and he had taken a survival training
course," his mother said. "He was the only one that was not in ROTC
and his instructor came up to him and asked him what he was doing
in there. He said, 'Because I like this type of thing.'
"The instructor said, 'Well, why don't you join the Army
then if you like it that well?' and he said, 'Well, I just think I
"He came home from school that day and he said, 'Moma,
what would you think if I told you I wanted to join the Army?' And
I said, 'Son, it's your life and you have to live it the way you want
to. You have to do what you think is best. I guess if that's what
you want to do, you do it," Mrs. Davis said.
"And then we discussed it with his dad and that's what
he wanted to do. You can't live their lives for them," she said.
Donnie signed up for the Army and reported at the end
of the semester in August 1983, his mother said.
As a member of the 5th Special Forces Group, 101st Division,
this was not Donnie's first mission.
"He'd been over there several times to different places
in the Middle East training their Special Forces teams," his father
He didn't talk much about Afghanistan, other than "he
thought a lot of the men hid behind their religion -- not Christianity,
but their religion," his father said.
"But he really wasn't one that talked about other people
a lot or put them down or their way of life. That's the reason he
had so many friends."
The family last saw Donnie shortly before his 39th birthday.
"We went down to see him on Oct. 7 and we said our good-bye's
then," Mrs. Davis said.
Donnie called her Oct. 13 before he shipped out, but
his mother said that this time, they didn't go. The family's previous
visit ended "on a happy note with everybody 'up.'
"I told him, you take what time you've got left before
you go into isolation and spend it with your little family because
they need you. The daughter was having a rough time," Mrs. Davis said.
"She's very close to her daddy.
"Of course, that was the last that we really talked to
him," his mother said.
Donnie went into isolation Oct. 14, eight days before
his 39th birthday.
"We didn't get to send him a birthday gift or card. He
didn't really have a place to send it. Special Forces is very secretive
in what they do and we wouldn't want to say anything to hurt the boys,"
Mrs. Davis said.
Donnie's sister, Debra Sams of Watauga, said she and
her brother Danny last saw Donnie a couple of weeks before he left.
"I've got pictures of us together. I'm so glad that I
did that now because we didn't have any pictures of just us three.
"I'm very proud of him. I was pregnant with my son when
he joined the Army and I'm the one that took him to Johnson City to
the recruiting office. I remember me being pregnant with Wesley and
crying all the way back.
"I'm just glad I got to talk to him before he left that
Sunday morning. We talked about 45 minutes that Saturday night. He
told me how scared he was and to make sure that we took care of his
"We were very close," Debra said. "It's very hard. I
hate for anybody to go through this. I never dreamed that my family
would be going through this."
Debra said her brother was very proud to serve his country.
"He didn't want to leave his family but he said, 'I am
very proud that I am in the military and am going to be able to do
this.' But he was scared," she said.
According to Mrs. Davis, the three siblings were very
"I tell everybody it just warms my heart to see the kids
loving each other and them being adults, because lots of times kids
fight for various reasons and they don't have anything to say to each
other. They had their squabbles as kids, but as they got older I believe
they got closer, really," she said.
The Davis family left Watauga Wednesday afternoon for
Clarksville, the home of Donnie's wife, My Kyong, and his children:
Cristina, 14, and Jessie, 10.
"My Kyong called and said, 'Get here as fast as you can,"
Mrs. Davis said.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, according to the
"We know they're bringing him to Germany and then from
there, we don't know," Mrs. Davis said.
"The only thing we know is they're going to have a memorial
service for him at Ft. Campbell when he gets back, and then we'll
bring him home," his father said.