Davis family to receive 'Letters of Gratitude' from Atlanta

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   The family of Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald "Donnie" Davis, who died Dec. 5 in Afghanistan as a result of "friendly fire," will be one of 30 families receiving a bundle of letters from Atlanta-area radio listeners following a write-in campaign.
   Brian Donovan of 640 WGST radio station in Atlanta said Tuesday, "Our afternoon talk show host, Ken Peterson, encouraged members to write Letters of Gratitude to family members" of soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan.
   Heather Hoffman, promotions assistant for WGST, said Peterson -- otherwise known in Atlanta as "The Kimmer" -- began the letter-writing campaign about two months ago.
   "The campaign ended Memorial Day Weekend," she said, with a few thousand letters received. Basically what we did was we divided them between the families.
   During the campaign, the station posted soldiers' names on the Website -- WGST.com -- "so that people could pick and choose who they wanted to write to," Hoffman said.
   Once the letters were received, "we had to skim through all of them just to make sure that there wasn't anything in there that we didn't want the family members to read, or that we might need to pass on to the FBI," she said.
   "Each hero got about 100 to 200 letters. Most of the letters we got, a lot of kids were doing them as projects in school, so it was a lot of elementary school kids who were writing in.
   "We have a lot of letters from kids to kids [of the victims], kids writing to the parents and to the wives. It was just amazing."
   Donovan said the letters will go out to families of the soldiers later this week.
   Davis, son of Lon and Linda Davis of Watauga, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser -- all members of the 5th Special Forces' Texas 12 -- died Dec. 5 while fighting alongside another Green Beret unit, when a B-52 locked onto the location of the Americans, rather than the Taliban, and dropped a 2,000 pound satellite-guided bomb on the battalion command post.
   Texas 12 commander, Capt. James Amerine, 20 U.S. soldiers, 18 Afghans and six Afghan allies led by then-interim prime minister of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, all were injured in the attack.
   The U.S. Central Command has yet to explain how the coordinates became mixed up and who was responsible for relaying the U.S. position to the bomber.
   Previous news reports have indicated that preliminary review showed the accident occurred because a controller changed the battery in a Global Positioning System device he was using to calculate coordinates for the bombing, not realizing that it caused the device to automatically reprogram itself to his own location coordinates.