Lynchburg soldier receives warm welcome home
The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.
After an overseas deployment of more than nine months, U.S. Army Capt. Jason Davis, 38, touched down at the Lynchburg Regional Airport Wednesday afternoon to cheers, applause and waving flags.
“We’re just excited and ready,” his wife Alana said.
Davis entered the concourse to find his wife waiting for him, holding their 21-month-old daughter, Bella. The family gripped each other tight for several moments in a tearful reunion.
“I don’t have words to describe it. I was emotionally overwhelmed,” Davis said. “Honestly, you don’t know how much you miss your family until they’re away.”
As Davis passed through the airport, he was suddenly greeted by about 30 family members and friends. Some held red, white and blue balloons while others carried signs, one of which read, “Put down your bags and prepare to be hugged.”
Alana assembled the group to surprise her husband.
“She’s always good at surprises,” he said.
Davis flew out Dec. 2, 2012 as part of the Army Reserve to serve as a chaplain in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
“We cannot overstate the importance of having a chaplain on the ground,” said Davis’ father, David. “They are irreplaceable.
Davis’ parents drove from Augusta, Ga. Wednesday morning to welcome their returning son.
“We’re thrilled that he’s home safely and out of a combat area,” David Davis said. “We are incredibly proud.”
David Davis, who retired after 23 years of military service, said his son comes from a long family line of career military men.
“All he ever knew from the time he was four was that his daddy wore a uniform,” David Davis said. “He’s just fallen in the footsteps.”
For about six years, Jason Davis served with the U.S. Army Airborne Infantry.
“He was pretty hardcore,” his father said. “He rose through the ranks pretty fast.”
Afterward, Davis decided to take his service in a different direction as a chaplain in the Army Reserve.
Alana Davis said the nature of her husband’s work helped her through his nine-month absence.
“It’s definitely tough, but I knew that as a chaplain he’s doing great things.”
Jason Davis studied at Liberty University to become a pastor. His father said education and military background helped make his son an effective chaplain.
“I know for a fact that he did a tremendous amount of counseling,” he said. “He just has a very special, God-given talent to connect with soldiers. Part of that is he is one of them.”
Jason Davis said he hopes to spend the next few days relaxing and reconnecting with his daughter.
Alana Davis had expressed concern Wednesday morning that Bella may struggle to remember her father.
However, when set on the ground, Bella wobbled over to hug her father’s leg.
“She knows her daddy,” Alana Davis said.
She said the family has vacation plans now that their soldier has returned home.
“We are going to take a trip in a couple of weeks to Florida, just to get a break and relax.”
Alana Davis said her husband then plans to work as a pastor at Mosaic Church on Memorial Avenue.
Davis will continue to serve with the Army Reserve, though his father said he already has made a significant impact.
“Jason just has the heart of a soldier.”