Retired Army Maj. Foster C. “Jock” Davis shared stories from his service during World War II to the University of Central Arkansas historic preservation students on Thursday.
The 93-year-old veteran said he lied about his age to serve — he was 17 when he enlisted but reported that he was 18 in order to be eligible.
He said his mother made him promise to make it home safely and gave him a testament he wore over his heart every day in service.
“That testament kept me safe,” Davis said. “I made it through, praise the Lord.”
Davis served in New Guinea for several months and recalled how thousands stood on the Golden Gate Bridge and cheered on the 600 servicemen aboard a ship as it passed under the bridge. He said serving in New Guinea wasn’t what he expected.
“I’ve seen movies, like Tarzan, and thought ‘Boy, this is pretty,’” Davis told the class. “It didn’t look that way when you got inside New Guinea.
“It rained about 320 days a year. There were kangaroos, crocodiles and python snakes. Mostly, there was disease. The jungle was ripe for disease because of heat and moisture.”
Later, Davis was transferred to Melbourne, Australia, which he said “was a relief” after serving in New Guinea.
Once his tour was over, he was once again greeted by cheering people on the Golden Gate Bridge.
“As we went under the bridge again, all those people were lined up cheering and holding up the victory sign,” he said.
He said he walked a half mile home and knocked on the front door, which his mother answered.
“What a reunion that was,” he said fondly.
As part of the curriculum for the course, UCA students were tasked with conducting an oral history of a veteran. Those oral histories will be submitted to the Library of Congress to be added to its permanent record at the end of the semester.