Born March 18, 1926 - Killed in Action January 9, 1945
One of Kenny's school classmates, June (Lovekamp) Houston, remembers him as a friendly, rather quiet person who was always very neat in appearance (his mother would see to that). She adds that he was well liked and "sported a cute grin". Willard (Willie) Peck tells of what a talented basketball player Kenny was!
Many of Kenny's nieces and nephews who later attended Arenzville elementary and high schools always enjoyed seeing his name engraved on a large trophy as "Most Valuable Player". He was the only son of Roy and Ethel Davis and had six older sisters. He sometimes felt as though he had seven mothers. Kenny "gained" some local fame around Arenzville when he dove off the bridge railing into Indian Creek just south of town!
In 1943 at age 17 Kenny wanted to join the U.S. Navy, but his parents were reluctant to sign for him. Disappointed, he dropped out of school and got a job as a deckhand on an iron ore boat in the Great Lakes. The following year he came home and enlisted in the navy on his 18th birthday, March 18, 1944.
After training, he was assigned to the battleship, U.S.S. Colorado that fought in many Naval air, land and sea battles in the South Pacific. In July 1944, off the island of Tinian, the ship was extensively damaged by 18 broadside shell hits from a Japanese shore battery and returned to Bremerton, Washington for major repairs. While there, Kenny was given leave and visited his family and friends in Arenzville for the last time. The U.S.S. Colorado rejoined the fleet in the South Pacific for more major battles as it fought its way North toward Japan. On January 9, 1945, the Colorado was part of a fleet of 164 vessels massed in Lingayen Gulf, located on the west coast of Luzon in the Philippines preparing for the retaking of that island. The fleet had undergone four days of kamikaze attacks, and while Kenny was manning his crew's anti-aircraft gun, the Colorado was hit by "friendly shell fire" from another ship in the fleet. Minutes later Kenny died. There were 58 casualties from that unfortunate and tragic incident.
The following day, the Colorado sailed out of the Gulf and into the South China Sea where a military funeral ceremony was conducted for Kenny and 18 of his shipmates.
Kenny's parents did not receive word of his death until one week later when Robert "Bob" Brasel delivered an early morning telegram from the War Department.