U.S. Marine Sergeant Kamm Davis aboard a light armored vehicle while
serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A war and sandstorm raged in the Iraqi night as a division of U.S. Marines cleared a path to Baghdad in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Among the Marines leading the way was Sergeant Kamm Davis, whose upper body stuck out of the top of a light armored vehicle he was guiding through near-zero visibility conditions. Without warning, the driver suddenly swerved causing the vehicle to roll, leaving Davis exposed.
“Thirty thousand pounds of steel rolled on top of me,” said Davis of that fateful day. “I thought, ‘I’m dead.’ But I lived. My helmet and body armor protected my vital organs.”
Davis suffered extensive injuries including a lacerated kidney, multiple pelvic fractures and fractured ribs. He was transported to a military hospital in Bethesda, MD. Eventually he was flown to his home base of Camp Lejeune, NC, but not before receiving the Purple Heart from a four-star general. He also received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor and his unit received a Presidential Unit Citation — the first unit since Vietnam to receive the award.
“I feel honored to serve,” said Davis. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I have arms and legs. I came home alive; some guys came home in flag-draped coffins.”
Today, former Marine Sergeant Kamm Davis works at the St. George, UT, Post
Office as a retail clerk.
Honorably discharged, Davis moved his family west where his combat valor would soon help him find a new career — with USPS.
“I took the postal exam and thankfully got five points for being a vet, and five for my Purple Heart,” said Davis, who was hired at St. George, UT, Post Office as a retail associate in 2006.
Among the many qualities he brought to USPS from his military service was attention to detail and the importance of being dependable.
“In the military you can’t call in sick — there’s no such thing,” said Davis. “In the military I learned the importance of attendance and discipline in general. It gets you through months like December when you work 12–14 hour days. It’s also a lot easier than staying up three days straight while you’re being shot at.”
Davis brings more than a sense of humor to the Postal Service. “I’m kind of a crusty old Marine, but I try to smile at customers, be friendly and engage them,” said Davis. “I go the extra mile. If somebody wants some letters balldated, why not take 30 seconds and do it?
He knows the power mail holds for customers, especially servicemen and women. “A letter from home is huge,” said Davis. “You read them 50 times. You tuck them in your pocket just to have them close to you. To get something from home — a letter, a picture or a crumbled up dry cookie — it’s absolutely priceless.”
Davis doesn’t like to talk about it, but his job, which requires raising his hands in front of him, causes a burning pain in his upper back due to nerve damage inflicted that night long ago in Iraq.
“Although I know he is in pain most days he never tries to use his service to our country as a crutch to get out of anything,” said Postmaster Vito Gasparro. “He is someone that I am proud to work with.”
Davis says USPS and the military have forged a great relationship. “The Postal Service does a good job of caring for veterans,” said Davis. “The fact I am a combat veteran got me my job at the Postal Service. I love my job, but it’s also what you make of it.”
According to Davis, it’s the little things that matter most to a veteran. “When somebody says ‘Thanks for your service,’ it means a lot,” he says with tears in his eyes. “I never forget that I’m one of the lucky ones.”