On October 10, 1918, he achieved distinction by killing four German machine gunners, using a standard-issue 1903 Springfield with open sights, near Verdun during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The gunners had pinned his platoon down and his actions secured safety to advance for the platoon. His marksmanship was attributed to skill he had developed as a youngster hunting small game in the Big Lake area.
General Pershing named Davis fourth among the 100 greatest heroes of World War I. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de Guerre with palm the Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star and the Médaille Militaire awards from the American and French governments. After the war, he returned home, and died four years later on January 5, 1923 during an operation related to tuberculosis he possibly contracted resulting from exposure to poison gas.
Herman Davis State Park, in his hometown of Manila, a monument located in the park and a street in Manila honor him. Other streets in Davis' hometown of Manila are named after another military honoree, Admiral George Perry.
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