His aunt is retired Command Sgt. Maj. Lucille Crutcher, a native of Douglas, Ga., who enlisted in the United States Army on Dec. 27, 1979. She retired 30 years later after participating in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I think this Military Appreciation Day is real good because people don’t really give the military as much encouragement as they should. My aunt was in the military for 30 years and I think she should be applauded for that,” Davis said.
His brother is in one of the many types of engineer jobs assigned to ships. That’s about all Davis knows about ships. He doesn’t know what kind or which one his brother is assigned to, only that his older brother has been deployed since about November.
“I think Thanksgiving was the last time I talked to him,” Davis said.
Davis, 22, is the youngest of three brothers. The eldest, Kentaiwon Durham, is a guitarist and singer while Corey and Antione are the athletes of the three.
“Kentaiwon never played sports. He tried it one time but it didn’t work out for him so he just stuck to singing,” he said.
Davis applauds his aunt and brother for being among the relatively small segment of the U.S. population serving in one of the branches of the armed forces. According to a survey released in December 2011 by the Pew Research Center, about one-half of 1 percent of Americans served in uniform at any given time during the first decade of the 21st century.
“My brother has been in the Navy for two or three years. He hasn’t been in the Navy that long but he’s been going overseas a lot lately,” Davis said. “He’s on a ship. He’s been gone for about three months, but I don’t ever ask him too much about it. I really don’t know much about the military. My aunt was in the military. My brother is in the military. We really don’t have a long line of family who were in the military, so I never really asked questions.”
Davis is the only member of the Lee baseball team who has immediate family in the military, so he is not alone in his lack of knowledge about the armed services.
According to a November 2011 Pew report, “A smaller share of Americans currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces than at any time since the peace-time era between World Wars I and II. … As the size of the military shrinks, the connections between military personnel and the broader civilian population appear to be growing more distant.”
The official 2010 Census reported 308.7 million people live in the U.S., a 9.7 percent increase from the Census 2000 population of 281.4 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in August 2011 there are 247,834 officers and 1.2 million enlisted in the five military branches.
Davis’ aunt did not talk about the military too much when she was around the family.
“If you were around and didn’t know she was in the military — she was a sergeant major but she never yelled at us or anything like that, she didn’t do stuff like that. You would have never known she was in the military if she didn’t tell you,” he said.
Another report published by the Pew Center in 2011 showed there were a million more wounded veterans than there were active duty soldiers and sailors. One of 10 veterans alive between July 18, 2011 and Sept. 4, 2011 was seriously injured at some point while serving in the military. Three-quarters of those injuries occurred in combat. The largest share of wounded vets — about 33 percent — served during the Vietnam era of 1964-73. In comparison, 18 percent served in the post-9/11 era, which is about the same as the number of surviving veterans of World War II and the Korean War. About 26 percent served between 1974 and Sept. 11, 2001, a period that includes the 1990-91 Gulf War.
Davis said baseball is his family tradition. A cousin taught him to bat at a very early age and he did not need a stand by the time he started T-ball.
“Major league baseball is like a family tradition. That’s all my family did was play basketball or baseball, so I think I just grew into it,” he said.
He was the starting first baseman his freshman year in high school and continued at first base until this year, when he moved to right field. He likes the outfield better because there is less stress.
“Out there you just catch fly balls, hit your cutoff man ... and you hit the ball [when your team is batting] and that’s it,” he said.
The Lee senior will earn his bachelor’s degree in a physical education with a minor in coaching, so this is his last season as a Flame. He would love to coach in his hometown or someplace like East Cobb High School in Atlanta. From there, he would like to work his way up to the major college level and maybe into professional baseball.