It wasn’t until 1947 when Asa Davison returned home, he finished his education. In 1943, he left Dunbar High School in Fairmont to join the Army as part of the infantry. He completed basic training in Alabama and then boarded a ship for active duty to the South Pacific. All the white soldiers were on the upper deck of the ship and all the black soldiers were on lower deck. “We didn’t know they were up there and they didn’t know we were down there,” Davison explained.
It took 13 days for the ship to reach Guadalcanal. When the soldiers stepped onto the beach there, Davison said that they were shocked by the destruction. Guadalcanal was just bombed. Mud was a foot deep and trees were blown out. “I looked up at the sky,” Davison said, “and I thought I’ll never see West Virginia again.”
He eventually traveled to New Guinea and other islands across the South Pacific, initially avoiding major conflict eventhough he was in combat all of the three years he served.
But then, toward the end of his service, Davison dug a 4-by-4 foxhole on Biak, New Guinea. The foxhole was covered with air matting and had sandbags to protect it from mortar shells. Davison had been in the foxhole for three or four hours. “They just kept bombing, bombing and shooting at us. All at once, in the evening, everything was silent,” said Davison. “I didn’t hear anything.”
After waiting and waiting in the silence, Davison thought he would get out of the foxhole and see what he could see. “I looked around and I could see nothing. I couldn’t see anything moving, not a thing,” said Davison. He was the only one out. Everyone else was still in his hole.
“All at once something hit me — boom — knocked me down! I fell to the ground. I was lying there and I thought I was losing my mind. I was the only one out in the open,” Davison exclaimed. Somehow he made it back to his foxhole. “I was hurting around my chest and around my back,” Davison said. “I was feeling on myself trying to figure out what was what.”
Davison had a pocket Bible with a medal “Know Your Bible” heart shield given to him by his mother. “I reached and pulled the Bible out,” Davison said. “There was an indentation in the center. I don’t know if it was shrapnel or a bullet or what. I never did find out. I am certain that Bible saved my life.”
These Bibles were commonly in scripted, “May this keep you safe from harm.”