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“He believed in our effort over there in Iraq. It wasn’t just a job. It wasn’t just a benefit.”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 30, 2008 09:52 PM

As Thanksgiving weekend draws to an end, please say a prayer for the family of Master Sgt. Anthony Davis and find a way to show lasting gratitude to him — and all those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Davis was killed while delivering humanitarian supplies in Biaj, Iraq. He had served in the Army for 26 years. He loved his job and he believed in his mission.

If this doesn’t put life in perspective for you, I don’t know what will.

Via the Baltimore Sun:

An Army master sergeant who grew up in Baltimore and graduated from St. Frances Academy was killed Tuesday while distributing food on a humanitarian mission in Biaj, Iraq, the Department of Defense said.

Master Sgt. Anthony Davis, 43, had served in the Army for 26 years and was planning to retire when his tour ended, said his brothers and sisters, who gathered yesterday in Baltimore’s Harwood neighborhood to remember the man who loved the Army so much they called him ” G.I. Joe.”

Sergeant Davis was married and had five children and one grandchild. Living in the town of Triangle in Northern Virginia, his life was intertwined with the military. His wife, Anna Davis, is an Army major based at the Pentagon. And his 26-year-old daughter, Keona Rowe, also has served.

“He died doing what he loved to do,” said Adrienne Kelly, Sergeant Davis’ sister. She said her brother, one of 17 children, didn’t talk about the dangers he faced in Iraq. He didn’t want the family to worry.

On this tour, which began in May, Sergeant Davis trained and mentored Iraqi army members and delivered food and relief supplies to poor villages. He was part of a team that assessed schools and then planned renovations and organized supplies. His daughter Diana, 18, collected soccer balls to ship to her father, who distributed them to children on his missions.

This month, the News & Messenger newspaper in Northern Virginia published an article about the father-daughter effort.

In an e-mail to the paper, Sergeant Davis wrote, “We must remain vigilant and pray that we a[re] getting through to the younger generation, who will one day inherit this nation, so that they remember us as peaceful and encouraging, not intruders and invaders.”

On Tuesday, Sergeant Davis was distributing water and food in Biaj, about 250 miles north of Baghdad, when he was shot and killed by an Iraqi security force soldier, the Defense Department said. Some news reports have indicated that a U.S. Marine was also killed and that several Iraqi civilians in line for relief supplies were injured, but an Army spokesman could not confirm that yesterday.

“He was Army in every sense of the word,” said Jorge Tardi, Sergeant Davis’ brother-in-law. “He believed in our effort over there in Iraq. It wasn’t just a job. It wasn’t just a benefit. It wasn’t just hardship pay. He was a patriot.”

A true patriot. A truly great American. He won’t be forgotten.

Please take a moment to leave a message on the Davis family’s Legacy.com page here.

One of the tributes:

November 29, 2008

I worked with MSGT Davis fielding equipment to MI brigades. He is a man of great spirit and integrity. My colleagues and I were greatly saddened to learn of his death this morning. Our condolences to the family he leaves behind.

Chris sargent (Charleston, SC)

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