Damika Denise Davis

1979 - 2009

Persian Gulf

Their Story

Damika Denise Davis was born October 10, 1979, in Davenport, Iowa, to Jeffery and Barbara Davis. She loved animals and studied to be a veterinarian, attending college at Tuskegee University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama, for Animal Science, according to her obituary.[1]

Damika served in the U.S. Navy as an OS2 – Operations Specialist – during the Persian Gulf period. [2] She obtained a certificate in Naval Warfare and Tactical Operations in Virginia Beach, VA. She served on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.[3]

Damika enlisted in the Navy at age 17, with her parents’ approval but had to wait until her 18th birthday and graduation from high school to serve. She served from October 1997 until August 2001 in the regular Navy and then served another year in the Navy Reserve. She was originally stationed in Coronado, CA, and spent some time in Malaysia.[4]  Her ship had a port of call in Malaysia during the first half of 2000.[5]

According to her mother, Damika loved the creative arts, from poetry and fashion design to singing. She auditioned for Bishop Noel Jones’ special choir and became part of that music ministry. Bishop Noel Jones is a well-known American minister and a Pentecostal bishop who is the senior pastor of the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California.  The church has a choir known as the City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir, of which Damika was a part.[6]

On August 2009, Damika took her own life. Earlier in the summer she had been diagnosed by a Veterans Administration Doctor with some sever mental health issues, according to her mother. Prior to the diagnosis, she was placed on a 72-hour hold in a medical hospital in Santa Ana, California, from where her mother retrieved her for care closer to her home in Davenport.

Damika’s mother had difficulties with the way Damika died and contacted the local NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness. She even traveled to Houston for two days of training in facilitating a suicide survivor support group that was offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.[8]  Barbara Davis did great work working with NAMI for eight years, sharing her story, and working toward supporting others who had experienced the same type of tragedy that she had. She helped to create a support group in Davenport in 2011, became an In Our Voice speaker for NAMI, and was an Iowa board-certified peer support specialist. She also spoke in 2012 about Damika’s suicide at the Army Sustainment Command’s suicide prevention stand down day.[7]

In 2009, there were 36,909 deaths by suicide in the U.S.[9]  That number increased to 47,511 in just 10 years, a 29% increase in 2019.[10]  Mental health disorder is one of the most significant risk factors for suicidal behaviors.

There is help available. If you or a loved one is in trouble, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

https://www.nami.org/Support-Education National Alliance on Mental Illness.


[1] Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) 26 Aug 2009, Wed., page 17 – downloaded Mar 3, 2022

[2] Damika Denise Davis’ memorial page – Honor Veterans Legacies at VLM (va.gov)

[3] USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) – About Us

[4] From Interview with Damika’s Mother, Barbara Davis, on March 9, 2022.

[5] Deployments of USS JOHN C. STENNIS

[6] Bishop Noel Jones Discusses the Future of the Church on Fox Soul

[7] ASC Guest Speaker Tells Story of Daughter’s Suicide

[8] Suicide: The Hurt Lives On

[9] Suicides — United States, 2005–2009

[10] Public Health Impact: Suicide