NEW LONDON -- A dedicated shipmate who always offered to help. A strong soccer player who was most comfortable on the field. A good dancer with a contagious smile and an ability to make just about anyone laugh. An eager learner. A loving brother and son.
These were some of the ways 2016 Coast Guard Academy graduate Richard "Ricky" Davies was remembered Friday night during a memorial service at the academy attended by his parents, brothers and many other family members, friends and shipmates.
Davies, 22, died from injuries he sustained when he was hit by a bread delivery van in Durham, N.H., early in the morning on Sept. 30. Durham Police do not anticipate any charges being brought against the van driver, and are awaiting a report from the accident reconstruction unit and toxicology results as part of the ongoing investigation, Deputy Chief Rene Kelley said.
Davies was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and moved to Richardson, Texas, before his first birthday. He took up soccer at age 3, and in high school played for the Dallas Texans, a club soccer team in his home state that ranked in the top 20 in the country.
The academy's rigorous academics proved trying for Davies. As head soccer coach Chris Parsons put it, he had to work harder than most of his classmates. Parsons said he and Davies had many conversations about his desire to leave the academy.
"Each time we talked it through. His bond with his teammates and other classmates helped him persevere," he said.
Davies majored in marine and environmental sciences, and played forward and midfield for the academy's soccer team. Though short, he was a fast and confident player.
The soccer team had a term for quintessential Davies moments, called "classic Ricky." Parsons recalled attending a fellow Coast Guardsman's wedding in Boston the summer after Davies graduated. When Parsons and his son pulled up to park at Coast Guard Station Boston and saw the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, to which Davies was assigned, Parsons suggested his son text Davies to see if "maybe we can see him later."
"Later was four hours later at the wedding that he was not invited to," Parsons said, to which the whole room seemed to laugh. "In full force. Within minutes he's on the dance floor with the bride and groom, and actually we left before he did."
Parsons encouraged those in the audience to store away a "classic Ricky moment or memory" inside their "long-term memory bank."
"When you have a bad day or you're having a tough time, go back to the bank, open it up and think of the classic Ricky moment. It will no doubt put a smile on your face," he said.
After graduating from the academy as an ensign, Davies went on to serve as a deck watch officer on the Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based in Portsmouth, N.H. Many of his shipmates, including Tahoma's commanding officer, Cmdr. Tim Brown, attended Friday's memorial.
On the Tahoma, Davies stood out for the way he slowed down and took the time to get to know his shipmates.
"They respected him. They trusted him because of this relationship that he built," Brown said.
Though he was fresh out of the academy, Davies was assigned as the Tahoma's command, control and communications officer, leading a division of six enlisted members, including a chief petty officer and five petty officers, whose job it was to maintain the ship's operations room.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Brandi Ingram, Davies' shipmate on the Tahoma, described how he cared "tremendously about the people who worked for him" and always was asking if they needed anything, "whether it was steering the ship in a direction to give us better Internet or drafting the infamous daily situation reports."
Ingram shared some of the division's favorite memories of Davies, such as the time he helped his team win trivia by correctly answering all of the questions in the chick flick category.
The highlights were the times when he walked into the operations room "with a big smile on his face, always making us laugh," she said.