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Army Sgt. Anthony J. Davis Jr.

Died April 23, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Long Beach, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed April 23 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his Stryker military vehicle in Mosul, Iraq.

Long Beach father of two killed in Iraq

Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Nothing could wipe the smile off the face of Sgt. Anthony Jerome Davis Jr., his family recalled, not even the horrors of war.

“When he smiled, his whole face lit up and everybody else couldn’t help but smile, too,” said his wife, Michell.

She recalled how she saw Davis smile when she was just 12 years old and he was the 13-year-old boy next door. She saw that smile again shortly before he left for Iraq last October when they danced to the music of Marvin Gaye and Patti LaBelle in the living room of his mother’s Compton home.

And she saw it for the last time just two days before he died, when the two communicated over the Internet and he told her of singing karaoke versions of Tupac Shakur and Nelly songs with his buddies at his base in northern Iraq.

The 22-year-old father of two died April 23 in Mosul, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle, the Department of Defense reported. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) at Fort Lewis, Wash.

Davis had enlisted in the Army right after graduating from Jordan High School in Long Beach. He was only 17 and had to receive permission from his parents, who tried to talk him out of it.

He was awarded an Army Service Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal, said Tammy Reed, a Fort Lewis spokeswoman.

Davis originally enlisted to support his family, according to his mother, Charlotte Davis. His wife was pregnant with Ah’lania, the first of their two daughters. Their second child, Aniya, was born two weeks after he left for Iraq.

The outgoing Davis had hoped to join the Los Angeles Police Department after he left the military, his wife said.

“He was the type of person that never really met a stranger,” she said. “He would talk to everybody and be friendly with everyone.”

His mother recalled him as a carefree child who played football and baseball at the neighborhood park and loved homestyle macaroni and cheese.

“I was truly blessed,” she said. “He didn’t do drugs, he didn’t gang bang, he didn’t disrespect us, he didn’t drink or smoke cigarettes. I couldn’t have asked for a better son. My son is a hero, and he’s my soldier, and I’ll miss him.”

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