Vietnam Veteran Rides Across the Country for Wounded Veterans

“I never took a hit, they’re disabled, and it just breaks my heart"
Andrew Thomas September 7, 2018

Many young men fought in Vietnam. A lot of them didn’t make it back. For this man who did make it home, he’s doing something important to help wounded veterans.

Ron Davis has always had an interest in cycling. However, he had to stop riding in order to dedicate himself to a larger cause.

Davis joined the Marine Corps in 1967, and volunteered to deploy to Vietnam during the height of the war in 1969.

“The way war works is if I didn’t go, they still need to fill that slot. Somebody had to go, so I’m glad I went,” Davis explained to Humanity.

Davis fought in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970.

“Shipping out I was nervous, you know I mean you don’t know what you’re getting into. You’re a new guy.”

More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed during the war. Over 150,000 service members were seriously wounded.

Yet, Davis returned to the United States in 1970 unscathed. Many of his comrades weren’t as lucky.

Davis not only survived the war, but he then survived bone cancer as well. He was diagnosed when he was just 36.

A few weeks later, Davis underwent surgery that removed a tumor the size a walnut from the head of his hip bone.

Doctors gave him a hip implant. Davis believed his new implant would prevent him from being able to run or cycle.

But finally, when he went in for a check-up in 2017, he would learn he would be able to ride again.

His journey through the Vietnam War and overcoming cancer would bring him back to his passion.

Davis mentioned to the physician assistant that he used to love to cycle, and had given it up because he thought his hip implant prevented him from riding.

In fact, not only did they tell him he’d be able to cycle, they advocated that he ride.

Davis got back into cycling, and wanted to make a big trip. He had to pick a destination.

“Being the strange person I am, I thought where should I ride? Well, how about all the way across the United States.”

He began to think that his story might get some publicity, and perhaps use that for a good cause. Enter the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

WWP helps wounded veterans with mental health and wellness, physical health, career counseling, benefits counseling, and support for the most critically wounded. It also assists veterans and their families in connecting with peers, programs, and communities.

When Davis sees wounded veterans at his local VA hospital, it touches him. He sees young, wounded veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and it hurts him.

“I never took a hit, they’re disabled, and it just breaks my heart,” Davis explained.

Davis has set up a website and a fundraising page with the Wounded Warrior Project for his cross-country ride.

He hopes the uniqueness of his trip and the publicity will help him raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, and spread awareness about wounded veterans.

Davis will start his ride on March 31st. He’ll pick up his bike in San Diego, and dip the tire into the Pacific Ocean before he begins his tour.

Davis estimated it will take him between nine and twelve weeks to reach his final destination, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Davis plans on spending the nights in a tent in National Parks. He will also visit one of his friends that he served with in the Vietnam War in Phoenix, Arizona.

When he gets to his final destination he’ll dip his tire into the Atlantic Ocean, culminating an epic journey for a good cause.