Bill Davis, of Wakeman, sleeps just a little easier now.
His son John, who grew up in Wakeman and now lives in Plano, Texas, just returned from a year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan. John, who had retired after a 22-year military career, volunteered for the job of guide and bodyguard for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when he toured the area.
"I felt like saying 'Hey, you damned fool'," the elder Davis said when his son told him about the assignment. But he is still proud of his son's dedication to the country.
"I think he was born with a gun in his hand," Davis said. "But I think he's got his belly full now." He said his son will spend another year in the service, probably at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. The younger Davis was awarded three medals in the past year, including a Bronze Star.
Davis said his son's job was "fairly secretive" and he knew he traveled extensively during the past year.
John, 54, was headed to Afghanistan just as his two sons, Jason and Brian, were headed back home after their tours in the Middle East. Even with John's return, more family members are still serving in the area.
Bill Davis said his granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Elise and Christian Cullin, are both second lieutenants serving in Iraq and his grandson Billy Davis is now in Afghanistan.
Another of Davis' sons, Greg, 53, also retired from the Army after 22 years of service. He now lives in Plano. Both John and Greg retired as lieutenant colonels.
Davis is a Navy man himself, even though his sons and grandchildren are all Army.
"I razz them about it because I was in the Navy," he said with a smile. Davis served in the Pacific for three years during World War II.
Davis said modern communications make it much easier for families to keep in touch today. He has a file several inches thick of e-mails and pictures his son sent from Afghanistan.
"When we talked to him on the phone, it was crystal clear," Davis said. "It sounded like he was right next to me."
The phone calls and e-mails made it easier for Davis to handle his concern for his son. He said he enjoyed his son's humor that came through in just about every communication.
"Dad, am in Kuwait with the rest of the sand fleas waiting to get out of this sandbox. Should be in the states in 72 hours yahooo, no bullet holes in my a so am very thankful," reads the most recent e-mail. "Gotta go now troops waiting to use the computer. Love you, Dad. You hang in there, your son, John."
Davis said his son has seen just about everything in Afghanistan from battle conditions to elite settings since he spent a lot of time with the military's top brass.
"He's seen it all," Davis said. Now, finally, he'll get a chance to hear from his son in person as soon as they can arrange a visit.