A veteran was honored for his service to his country at Monday’s Delaware City Council meeting — honored for a conflict that is little remembered today.
Master Sgt. Kenneth L. Davenport received a proclamation from Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle on Monday. Davenport served in the U.S. Army as a squad leader with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, during the Dominican Civil War.
“The Delaware resident distinguished himself in 1965 when his squad came under heavy fire from rebels during the early stages,” Riggle said. “Davenport’s actions earned him a Bronze Star with a ‘V’ designation for valor.”
According to Wikipedia, the Dominican Civil War took place in 1965, with the main hostilities in April and May. Described as a part of the Cold War, rebels attempted a coup against the Dominican Republic’s president in its capitol of Santo Domingo. U.S. President Lyndon Johnson feared a second Cuban revolution, and dispatched paratroopers to the island nation to airlift civilians and assist loyalists.
In an article titled “The U.S. Dominican Intervention: Success Story,” military historian Lawrence M. Greenberg writes:
“In just three weeks, U.S. forces had changed the complexion of the Dominican civil war. Overwhelming American military presence separated rebels from Loyalists, forced a military stalemate, and stopped the majority of the fighting. The Army had achieved President Johnson’s first and primary goal — to prevent the possibility of another Castro-style regime in the Americas. Johnson had also been assured that history would not remember him as the president who lost the Dominican Republic to communism.
“But in accomplishing this, the president had paid a high price. The unilateral intervention dissolved Latin trust in the postwar U.S. policy of military nonintervention in the hemisphere. With a stable situation brought about by the controlled application of a disciplined, restrained and well-led force, the president then turned his attention back to Southeast Asia.”
“This war was short and brutal” to civilians, states a post in the “Axis History Forum.”
Casualty accounts differ, but Greenberg writes there were 27 Americans killed, and 172 wounded.
In April, Davenport was inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame of Valor.
“I’ve known Ken for 40 years,” said Joe DiGenova, a council member who served in Vietnam. “He’s an outstanding individual, and I was proud to be there at the state Capitol when you were inducted, and you were very deserving of it.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.