Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Colleen Wright
PORTALES –Military life offers a different kind of living than what we are used to on the High Plains. Travel and adventure is why Dr. Dale Davis, Eastern New Mexico University marketing professor, chose to join the Marines.
Born and raised in the western part of New York, Dr. Davis dropped out of high school to enlist in the Merchant Marines at the age of 16. "Back then it was legal to sign up at 16," Dr. Davis explains. "My parents were completely against it until I finished high school, but I was afraid there might not be another war to fight in, that it might be my only chance – so I ran away from home."
He was a sailor aboard civilian ships for one year, and then because of an injury returned home to graduate. Directly after graduation he enlisted in the Marine Corps, this time for different reasons.
"At the time there was something called the 'World War II Bill of Rights'. The bill stated if you stayed in the Corps for three years, your college education would be paid for. It seemed like a good way to get my schooling funded."
Instead of going to school right away, Dr. Davis ended up staying in the service longer, eventually becoming a Lieutenant Colonel. "I was having so many great adventures, I was not ready to retire yet."
In 1968 he finally retired and decided it was time for college. He chose Berry College in Rome, Ga., to begin working on his bachelor's. The weather was a factor in his choice. "When I was in Korea I served in the mountains; it was horribly cold and miserable; after that I decided I NEVER wanted to live anyplace it snowed again."
Dr. Davis received his bachelor's from Berry College, and then his doctorate at Georgia State. He then taught in Georgia for nine years.
In 1982 Dr. Davis decided to come to Portales to teach at ENMU. "I love it here, especially teaching at the college," Dr. Davis says. "It's a teaching school; I like to dabble in a little bit of research, but my primary interest is teaching."
Dr. Davis is married with three children. He met his wife when he was 15; they married when he was 18 – between when he came back from the Merchant Marines and joined the Marine Corps.
Both of his sons kept with the military tradition. The first is retired from the Air force. His second was in the Marine Corps and was severely wounded in Vietnam.
He has a grandson who is a Marine and is presently overseas. His daughter is an ENMU graduate.
Dr. Davis and his wife plan on retiring in Portales; they like the atmosphere of the small town, but he has never regretted his decision to join the Marines. "I've had a great life, in 22 years I transferred 19 times," Dr. Davis recalls. "It has been one long great ride."
Dr. Dale Davis parachuting.
Dr. Dale Davis