By Rennie Davis
On Thursday, Nov. 2 during the regular meeting of the Susanna Randolph Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, David Willis was presented with the Quilt of Valor.
David was drafted into the U.S. Army on Feb. 17, 1969, and performed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in central Missouri. David was then sent to Fort Ord, Calif., where he acquired his advanced individual training as an infantry soldier, 11B, commonly called a “grunt.” David shipped out to Vietnam on July 17, 1969, from Fort Lewis, Wash. After a stopover in Japan he landed in Vietnam the next day.
During his time in Vietnam he spent most of his time on patrol in the bush only returning every two to three weeks to do guard duty at the base camp at Bien Hoa.
While in Vietnam, David earned his Combat Infantry Badge, which is awarded to infantrymen and special forces with the rank of colonel and below who fought in active ground combat in a brigade-size unit or smaller. He also earned the Army Commendation Medal for acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy and the Bronze Star for heroic or meritorious service in a combat zone.
He also earned the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device for soldiers serving in Vietnam from 1960 to 1975, the Vietnam Service Medal given to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in Vietnam from 1965 to 1973 and the National Defense Service Medal which is awarded to U.S. Armed Forces members serving during the Vietnam war.
David returned to the U.S. on July 15, 1970, and was stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., where he finished his enlistment on Feb. 17, 1971, at the rank of sargeant, E-5, and was honorably discharged.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 by founder Catherine Roberts whose son was deployed to Iraq.
She dreamed of a soldier being drug down an emotional gutter until he was wrapped in the quilt and his whole demeanor changed from one of despair to hope and wellbeing. The message of her dream was quilts equal healing. The first Quilt Of Valor was awarded in November of 2003 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a soldier from Minnesota who had lost his leg in Iraq.
Each Quilt of Valor is formed by loving hands that join bits of fabric together—one piece at a time. Ruth Miller, who is a member of the Susanna Randolph Chapter, constructed this quilt specifically for David, and Mary Lou Lynn quilted it here in Vandalia.