Davis and his wife thank the audience at his medal ceremony Tuesday
An East Tennessee World War II veteran received a long-awaited medal for his service Tuesday.
Harold Davis, a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps. received a World War II Air Medal during a ceremony at McGhee Tyson ANG Base. That medal dates back to May 11, 1945.
"Its very special to me, makes you think back on what you earned it for," said the Oliver Springs veteran, remembering his time in the service.
Mr. Davis flew twenty-nine combat missions during his military career as a waist gunner aboard a B-24 aircraft. In a "Service and Sacrifice" interview with 10News Anchor John Becker, Mr. Davis recounts some of those harrowing bombing runs where he and his nine crewmates faced counter attacks from ground guns and aerial fighters.
"I can't believe I got home," he said. "I wasn't the only one there, there were hundreds of others."
The veteran's sacrifices have inspired later generations. U.S. Air Force Captain Matthew Bailey said he was honored and humbled to meet Davis at the ceremony.
"It brought a lot of pride that just an ordinary individual was called by his country and stepped up and served. Not only served, but served well," Bailey said. "And I told him, he set the bar high for all of us that do serve."
David is also a recipient of the French Legion of Honor, awarded to him earlier this year by the Consul General of France. Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor in France.