USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- During a Nov. 10 memorial service, Machinist's Mate Fireman Apprentice Bryant Leroy Davis was remembered as a religious young man who was a very happy person and always had a smile on his face. Davis' shipmates gathered in USS Kitty Hawk's (CV 63) Hangar Bay 1 to honor the 20-year-old Chicagoan who was lost at sea Nov. 7.
Davis enlisted in the Navy Nov. 15, 2000, and reported Aug. 4 to Kitty Hawk. He is survived by his mother, Sandra Davis, and sister, Paris Davis.
"To me, I didn't lose a shipmate, I lost a son," said Machinist Mate 1st Class Fitzroy Woods, who was a mentor to Davis. "He wanted to learn, he wanted to be a good engineer. He would always ask, 'What's next, what do you want me to learn? What do I need to know?'"
Search and recovery teams spent two days trying to recover Davis after he fell overboard. USS Kitty Hawk, USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), several aircraft and small rigid hull inflatable boats conducted the search, which was called off after an exhaustive 48-hour effort. Davis was officially declared deceased Nov. 10 by the Department of Defense.
The incident of Davis' death remains under investigation.
Cmdr. Patrick Hahn, one of the ship's chaplains, knew Davis from having shared several conversations together.
"As a young man, he had so much to offer, so many people yet to love and to care for, so many things to learn and experience," Hahn said. "Life can be fleeting, especially in our business."
"He was a young man who had complete confidence in his future. He looked forward to returning back home to Chicago," Hahn said. "He was a man of great faith. Whenever you saw him, he had a little scripture stuck in his pocket and he was reading it constantly. He trusted in God. He always had a smile on his face. His faith enabled him to really care about people."
Kitty Hawk's commanding officer, Capt. Thomas Hejl, said Davis is gone, but not forgotten.
"He made great sacrifices for his shipmates and his country," Hejl said. "None of us can understand why he was taken so young. All we can do is hope to accept his departure, affirm what we're feeling at his loss and acknowledge his accomplishments."
USS Kitty Hawk is currently participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. More information about the carrier is available at http://www.kittyhawk.navy.mil.