Patriot Guard Mission Complete
for Fallen Hero
Cpl Todd Davis
January 20-21, 2008
Davis laid to rest
The body of Corporal Todd E. Davis, former
Raymore resident, is carried to its final
resting place Monday in the veterans' section of
Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City. Davis was
buried beside his father, Eddie, also a veteran.
Members of the 705th Military Police Battalion,
Fort Leavenworth, Kan., participated in the
Lead Story - Jan. 24,
laid to rest with honor
Military, family and friends
celebrate former Raymore student's sacrifice
By Allen Edmonds
The Star Herald
The morning Todd Davis
completed his mission, he picked oranges.
Leave it to Todd to find the joy in life
anywhere – even in the harsh and sizzling
deserts of Diyala Province, Iraq. Even when
every unfamiliar face registers distrust, fear
and often hatred. Even when death can be a
mathematical probability with any footstep.
“I got to eat a couple of them that morning,”
said Specialist Chris Reigstadt of Texas, Davis’
closest friend in Iraq, and a fellow member of
the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment,
1st Armored Division.
“He and the others were laughing and carrying on
that morning in the back of the vehicle, and it
made me feel good just to hear them back there,”
they couldn’t have known for sure, but had to
know was a distinct possibility, was the fate
that awaited them.
Davis, who attended Raymore-Peculiar Middle
School before moving to Lee’s Summit, completed
his final mission that morning, Jan. 9, in
Sinsil, a community about 60 miles north of
Baghdad along the Diyala River.
According to the New York Times of Jan. 14,
Davis and five others, plus an Iraqi
interpreter, were killed when they entered a
house that had apparently been rigged with
explosives by Sunni insurgents – even after the
same house had been cleared of explosives just
two weeks earlier.
Others survived the explosion, including a
sergeant who ran back into the village to arrest
a shopkeeper who had directed the U.S. soldiers
to the compound, according to the Times article.
Reigstadt didn’t discuss the deadly moments when
he spoke to the funeral attendees Monday at Mt.
Moriah Chapel in Kansas City.
But he did tell Davis’ friends and family what
they already know, and what he would miss most.
“That laugh. If you didn’t know where Todd was
in the morning when he woke up, just go out in
the hallway and listen for a minute. He’d be
somewhere laughing and you knew something good
was going on,” Reigstadt said.
But there was something that drove Davis –
something no one could change, according to his
aunt, Dorothy Ochsner of Kansas City.
In addition to being “extremely courteous and
respectful – very good with children, he was
fiercely independent.” Ochsner said
he made up his mind, you couldn’t change it.”
Such was the case the day he suddenly decided to
join the Army, after already being enrolled at
the University of Oklahoma where he planned to
pursue a degree in architecture.
He had completed several challenges on the way:
overcoming the death of his father, Eddie,
Ochsner’s brother, being the most difficult.
But he made his father proud by mastering the
sport of wrestling – something he didn’t even
try until his freshman year of high school at
Lee’s Summit North.
Under the direction of Coach Bill Biggerstaff,
he suffered through “a lot of losses those first
couple of years. But you could always count on
Todd to work hard and do his best. And he always
did it with that smile on his face,” Biggerstaff
That determination led him from an unskilled
high school freshman wrestler to National Junior
College Athletic Association All-American his
sophomore year at St. Louis Community College at
He was also an academic All-American at the
“I suspect that same desire to push himself
physically helped him when he decided to join
the Army,” Biggerstaff said.
His father, a Viet Nam-era Marine veteran might
have been most proud of the assessment of Brig.
Gen. Mark O’Neill, who presented the family with
posthumous medals and awards at the funeral.
“Todd believed in what he was doing,” O’Neill
said, “and no one could dissuade him pursuing
“All of us go through life hoping that somehow,
some way, we will have the opportunity to make a
difference in someone else’s life; to make the
world somehow better for our passing. Todd did
“Most of us go through life with just the
opportunity to read about history. Todd wrote
it,” he said.
“For an instant, we were a bit weaker for his
passing,” the general said, “but then you meet
Chris, and you realize that each and every one
of those soldiers committed themselves to being
more than just themselves – and you remember
that we’re a great team.”
Davis’ personality didn’t wait until adulthood
to develop, however. His communication arts
teacher at Raymore-Peculiar Middle School
remembers the same guy that lightened the load
for his buddies in Iraq.
“I remember Todd as being very social and
outgoing. He was a spitfire who never left a
moment without comment, and very seldom did the
smile leave his face.”
Davis’ final honor came shortly after his death,
when his superiors promoted him posthumously to
Corporal. It was an honor well-deserved, Gen.
“Todd, you have completed your mission. You
served your country with great honor and an
impassioned sense of duty.”