Yucaipa and Calimesa has a rich history of military heroes. On Saturday afternoon, June 9, 2012, the Davis family learned that their 20-year-old son Nathan “Tyler” Davis, a 2010 local high school graduate, died in Afghanistan from injuries he suffered when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device. Davis was assigned to the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
At the time, Davis was the first Yucaipa resident to be killed in active duty since Vietnam. He gave his life while in service of the United States military.
Nine years ago, the word of Davis’ death traveled quickly throughout the community and an impromptu prayer vigil was assembled that night at the corner of Fifth Street and Wild-wood Canyon Road, just below Davis’ Hometown Heroes military banner. About 200 people attended, bringing candles, American flags, flowers, photos and grieving hearts.
Davis grew up in Yucaipa and began his education at Valley Elementary and graduated from Green Valley High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 2010.
Almost a decade after his untimely death, the community and the Davis family still grieves for the loss of the hometown hero. His mother Desiree said that time doesn’t really heal the pain of losing their son, but she is grateful for the support from the community.
“Our family was extremely blessed and blown away by the outpouring of love and support for our son Tyler in 2012,” she said. “Our amazing town of Yucaipa has continued to honor Tyler each year since that day and the love and support that we feel each year helps so much. It fills our hearts to know that he hasn’t been forgotten, that he is not only our hero, but truly is his hometown’s hero.”
Davis was laid to rest at Sunnyslope Cemetery in Beaumont to be near his grandfather, Gordon M. Davis.
Linda Molina-Clark is the current chair of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Veterans and Memorial Day Committee.
“Although (due to the pandemic) we aren’t having our Memorial Day ceremony (in person) this year, Tyler Davis is so important because he gave up his life for his country and we will never forget his commitment,” said Molina. “It falls on all of us to remember our veterans and what they did for our country.”