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One Last Voyage
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Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:00 AM
Chief Petty Officer Floyd Davis of Madison, will be sworn in for his re-enlistment by his former high school teacher, U.S. Navy Reserve officer Capt. Mike Turner, on Friday at Madison Consolidated High School. Davis’ three-year re-enlistment term will take him to the 20-year service mark, at which time he will be eligible for retirement. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Davis will soon be transferred from his recruiting assignment here to his new duty station in Guam, where he will work on the submarine tender USS Frank Cable. The ship was photographed here in December 2012 while anchored in Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. The USS Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support for submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of responsibility. (Photo provided by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey Hensley)
Chief Petty Officer Floyd R. Davis III is a world traveler. The machinist mate for the United States Navy has been to Italy, Greece, Germany, Australia, Spain, Israel and Japan to name a few places.
But in three years, after his next assignment is finished and he has served 20 years in the Navy, he plans on retiring and making Madison the final stop on his world tour.
"When I was young, I hated Madison. I just wanted to leave Madison," he said. "I just wanted out."
He knew what he didn't want to do with the rest of his life. His uncle worked for Koehler Tire and his father worked for Rotary Lift.
"So the only place left for me in Madison would have been Arvin Sango," Davis said. "One out of the main three is all I could have really had and I just didn't want to be a factory worker either."
At the time, Davis said he was too immature for college. He'd probably end up throwing away that opportunity. He was worried he would party too much or get into trouble with the law. After weighing his options, he decided to enroll in the military.
Davis graduated from Madison Consolidated High School in 1997, but had already signed up for the delayed entry program in 1996. After graduation, he reported to Great Lakes, Ill., where he completed his training in 1998.
Since then he has spent three years in Italy and four in Japan on different assignments. From 2002 through 2005 he was a a machinist mate instructor at Great Lakes. In December 2005, Davis reported to the U.S.S. Essex. He reported as the Air Conditioning Refrigeration Work Center supervisor where he advanced to first class petty officer. In 2009, he accepted orders to the Navy Recruiting Command in Michigan. Since 2010 he has been working as a recruiter in Clarksville.
Davis said he used his experience to give potential recruits an honest take on the Navy.
"I can tell people there's more out there than just the factories," Davis said. "I think I have more to tell, more experience and stuff like that. When I came recruiting I wasn't basing it off of one ship. I've been stateside on a ship, I've been overseas on the east coast, I've been overseas on the west coast and I've taught boot camp. So, basically when somebody asked me something I had all of the answers."
While he still prefers being a mechanic and looks forward to getting back to it on his next assignment, Davis said he's had fun recruiting.
"I've been able to help so many people with nothing going for them. Those are ones I really like. Normally, those people are the ones that call after boot camp and thank me. That's almost as good as getting that piece of equipment up and running again. Knowing that that person has made it."
On Friday, Davis will re-enlist for the last time at a ceremony at Madison Consolidated High School. He is taking his wife, Kristi, and 2-year-old son, Floyd IV, along on his next assignment. Kristi is expecting to give birth to the couple's second child in Guam.
While there, Davis will be working on a submarine tender, which repairs other ships.
Davis says he was the family's guinea pig when it came to military service. His grandfather had served in World War II, but after that, there hadn't been any military service.
"When I originally joined, it was just to do four years," Davis said. "I just wanted to get the experience, I guess it was a get-out-of-town type of deal. After I was in, I just kind of liked it and it turned into a career. In a way, it's helped me grow up and think outside the box. My parents have essentially never lived anywhere outside Madison. It helped me to see what's out there, instead of only one thing."
Davis says he doesn't really know what he wants to do after he retires from the Navy, but he knows that with his years of service and experience working with heating and air conditioning units, he shouldn't have trouble finding a job. He is a little nervous about the differences between the Navy and civilian work.
"It's going to be a culture shock," he said. "My entire adulthood, all I've known is the Navy."
Davis hasn't had a job outside the Navy since he was a high school student at Madison.
While finding a new career makes him a little anxious, he's more excited to settle down with his family.
He said that, at the end of the day, Madison is his home. His parents still live in the area, and he wants his children to go to Madison Consolidated High School, just like he did.
"I miss the water, I do," Davis said. "But, it's kind of nice to come home every night too."
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