After graduating Warren Area High School in Warren, Pennsylvania, in 1977, CORT District General Manager (DGM) David Davis joined the Navy. Initially David was tested and approved to attend SEAL training, but the Navy needed submarine sailors more than they needed SEALs, and so began David’s military career.
David’s first active duty station was in Groton, Connecticut, for Submarine training. One very important training exam is how to escape a sunken submarine. “They put you in a chamber and compress you down 100 feet below sea level, then place a hood over your head. They open a door under water and you have to ascend to the surface.” All while shouting “Ho Ho Ho” at the top of your voice to expel air and prevent your lungs from rupturing as the air expands during ascent!
David went on to attended Electronics “A” school and then on to MT “C” School where he received a Missile Technician rating, which carries a Top Secret clearance. “I worked on nuclear weapons and at times had the bombs three feet from my face,” said David.
At 19, he was on his first submarine, the USS Kamehameha (hull number – SSBN 642), on the blue crew. David’s first “Underwater Deterrent Patrol” was 78 days long. “Living on a sub is a very isolated existence. You are essentially cut off from the world. No reading newspapers or talking with loved ones. You miss out on every holiday as well as the latest fashions and music.”
During the Cold War, David made five deterrent patrols where his job was on a Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine (FBMs), which requires the submarine to go out in the ocean and essentially disappear. “It was a lot of long hours of doing nothing. They reduce the oxygen content on the ship so you sleep a lot.” To pass the time, David read a novel every three-to-four days.
In 1979, David earned the silver dolphins, qualifying in submarines. This submarine warfare insignia meant he was familiar with the submarine from an operational level. After a year and a half of study, David knew the submarine inside and out. Today, he wears the silver dolphins on his vest when riding his motorcycle.
In 1983-84, David rotated to shore duty for Navy Ordinance Test Unit (NOTU) based at The Kennedy Space Center. During his time with NOTU, he was involved in about 60-65 test fires where his job included the removal of Live Tactical Nuclear Weapons and replacing them with Test Missiles and all the associated telemetry gear. After three and a half years, he moved back to Connecticut and endured a major blizzard, so he decided to pack up and head back to sunny Florida where he resides today.
Besides serving his country, David is most proud of being one of nine founding members of “The Widow’s Sons”, a masonic riding association that focuses on taking care of widows and sons of other masons. Started in 1999, they now have chapters in 35 states and 10 countries. There are 700 members in the state of Florida that ride for charity, and annually raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity.
David has been with CORT nearly 11 years and shares a lot of what he has learned in the military with his team. He preaches to the warehouse staff that, “You are your brother’s keeper. You have to watch out for each other.” David has a tremendous respect for his country and believes every young man should spend a few years in military. “It settles you down and provides you with a foundation to build your life. It also teaches you a profound respect for camaraderie.” David’s basic mantra is, “You only go around once in life. Make it a big circle.” This has really been a driving force behind all of his travels and adventures. “Even today I am chasing that big circle!”
Thank you for your service, David!