Born in 1957 in Muskegon, Michigan, David Walks-As-Bear is a product of a diverse background. Because of this, his life has been flavored by three distinct cultures; the culture of the “Old South”, the culture of the Mid-West and the culture of the Native American Indian.
His parents hail from the South and his Southern roots have colored much of his life. The fourth of four boys, his oldest brother was born in Tennessee, the next in Michigan, the following in Tennessee, and finally, David entered the world in the Great Lake State of Michigan. His family traveled back and forth, always seeking to maintain the Southern ties. His philosophy and outlook on life has been molded by values often deemed “Southern”. His ancestral ties hark back to Southern manners and the Old Confederacy. In this way, the American South has played a vital role in his life.
Note: during WWII, David’s dad was the only American Indian in his company. Although all soldiers, few of them knew how to hunt wild game. Members of his infantry squad would trade him an M-1 rifle for his BAR, and send him out to kill deer and rabbits in the European countryside for extra meat. It was his squadmates that gave him the name he decided to keep, that of “Meat Getter”.
Once his family settled in Michigan permanently, David lived in the panorama of the Winter-Water-Wonderland State. In 1976, he married the former Maureen Halloran and the couple has raised five children. The earthy values of the Mid-West combined with plenty of hunting and fishing in the state’s abundant natural resources have equally played a role in his world. It was because of this exposure to nature that he entered the field of recreational law enforcement.
Finally, the addition of his American Indian heritage sums up the writer and the man. David’s mother traces ancestry to the Blackfoot, Choktaw and Cherokee. His father was Shawnee and a member of the Kispoko Sept, or warrior group, of that Native American nation. His traditional Indian outlook has always dictated his life. From daily morning prayers to his love of the Great Good Spirit and all that He has created, David has remained true to the Shawnee creed. Given the Christian name of David Wayne Davis at birth, he was shortly thereafter given the Shawnee moniker of “Walks-As-Bear”.
USCG Base, Yorktown, Virginia ===============================
On the warrior side, David served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and retired after 21 years in the ‘Hooligan Navy’. Assigned to the newly formed Rapid Deployment Force in 1983, he served as a combat boat crewman with OCONUS (Outside the Contential U.S.) port security unit. It was while serving as a Coast Guard photojournalist that he honed his writing skills. When he began writing for civilian publications, he used the combination of his Christian and Shawnee names of “David Walks-As-Bear” to help keep the Indian culture alive for his children. He credits his wife with his efforts as a writer today because it was she, that encouraged him to put pen to paper, over and over again.
Above: the Flight Mission Specialist Observer Badge
These wings are awarded to members of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp, and date to the First World War. They’re worn on the upper left chest. These wings were orginally awarded to co-pilots, navigators, and flight support personnel who had received variations on training necessary for the standard Pilot’s Badge or Aircrew - Photographer?s Mates, Meteorologists, and other Aerial Observers. The Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corp, presently award them to flight-qualified mission specialists i.e. meteorologists and those personnel involved in intelligence.
David began is career in the Coast Guard serving as initially a Damage Controlman and then, as a Public Affairs Specialist or Photojournalist.
Above: the rating insignia of the U.S. Coast Guard PA (Public Affairs Specialist i.e. military job). In the early 1980′s, the CG Journalist rating was combined with that of Photojournalist rating to create the PA.
This Coast Guardsman reports and edits news; publishes information about service members and activities through newspapers, magazines, radio and television; speaks to groups and gatherings about missions and activities of the Service, and shoots and develops film and photographs.
David at graduation of Welding & Burning Class C School, Coast Guard Base Alameda, California
Above: the rating insignia of the U.S. Coast Guard DC (Damage Controlman i.e. military job)
This Coast Guardsman fabricates, installs and repairs shipboard and shore structures, plumbing and piping systems; uses damage control in fire fighting; operates nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological defense equipment; construction work including all carpentry and general building construction and repair.
Above: the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Badge
The decoration was initially presented to Coast Guard Reservists who had completed port security training in harbor defense operations, and who had an OCONUS (Outside of the Continental United States) billet for active-duty mobilization, with orders for immediate combat assignment to an overseas PSU (Port Security Unit). The badge is earned by only a small number of Coast Guard members (approx. 1%), and is primarily a Coast Guard Reserve decoration. Depending on other decoration precedence, it is worn on the upper left chest.
During part of his time in the service, David was a a designated Coast Guard Recruiter. He was assigned to the Number One Coast Guard Recruiting Office in the nation. While he was attached, this command won a Commandant’s Unit Award medal for excellence in qualified applicants processed, with an overall new service member rating of ‘very high satisfaction’. This applicant satisfaction rating is a high priority with the service. During David’s assignment, the Coast Guard had no “number quotas” for recruiters, and recruiting centered soley on acquiring ’quality’ applicants. This branch of the military service was, and still is, the most select in those that it accepts. Often, applicants have to wait for an opening before they enter service, etc. When David was a recruiter, the Coast Guard had the highest entrance qualifyers for an applicant of any of the five military branches of service.
Above: The Coast Guard Recruiter Badge
This badge is worn on the lower left breast pocket and is authorized to those CG personnel assigned as designated recruiters. U.S. Coast Guard Recruiters meet with, and process all applicants for Coast Guard active- duty, reserve, officer candidate programs and applicants for entrance into the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
David’s experience as a military writer has been a strong catalyst but regardless of the job he did, David has always felt the need to serve. In this manner, he was simply following family tradition. His oldest brother, served on an Army patrol boat during the Bay of Pigs. His father carried a BAR and fought across Europe with the 314th Infantry Regiment. Numerous uncles and cousins served in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. He had uncles in World War One, the Spanish American War and a distant cousin John Davis, a rifleman of the Gonzales Rangers, who died at the Alamo in Texas. He also has Great Grandfathers on his mother’s and father’s side, who fought for the Confederacy in the War Between the States. These last two of his ancestors probably epitomize much of Walks-As-Bear’s feelings about the warrior code and all that it means to him. These men, like the Indians before them, did not fight because of politics, a military draft or to rid the world of tyranny. These great grandfathers fought only for their people and the very home in which they lived.
One of them, on his mother’s side, fibbed about his age, and enlisted in the 48th Alabama Infantry at age 15. He was of Cherokee blood and fought in most of the climatic battles of the Civil War from Manassas to Gettysburg. He and his unit were at Appomattox Court House when Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. The other Great Grandfather, on his dad’s side, rode with the Cherokee Mounted Rifles, a cavalry unit made up entirely of American Indians. He was Kispoko Shawnee, and he too, saw many battles. It was the Mounted Cherokee Rifles, that were the last Confederate soldiers to surrender at the war?s end. Prior to that, all of the warriors in David Walks-As-Bear?s family wore face paint, feathers and buckskin. But one way or another, they all served.
David attended Army ROTC and entered the Coast Guard as a Direct Petty Officer. He holds degrees from two Michigan colleges and numerous certificates from different institutions. He served as the president of the Native American Preservation Council, and, when appointed by the state governor, as a Selective Service Board Member. A proud member of the American Legion and a Son of a Confederate Veteran. He is a member of the Western Writers of America, and is listed with the Michigan Association for Media in Education through the Library of Michigan, Native American Authors and numerous other writer’s groups and organizations.
Advanced Infantry Tactics: after a 20-mile hike as a squad leader, of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1978.
Army Command and Leadership Qualification:
David has written for the military, and various newspapers and magazines. Over the years, he has taken numerous photographs that have appeared in military and civilian publications, alike – several, becoming covers of magazines and front page photos for newsprint. He is the author of children’s books, novels and non-fiction books. He has worked as a police officer, park ranger, game warden, forest ranger and private detective. He has also taught high school journalism and adult education. As one would expect, many of these life experiences are reflected in his writing.
Today, he keeps his hand in journalism by writing a syndicated newspaper column – “The Bear’s Den” – with the originating paper being the White Lake Beacon, in Whitehall, MI. In addition to being carried in print at various newspapers, it also appears on the web. David also sends the column out weekly, to people who request it, via email. The list is in the hundreds and it goes out all over the world – England, Ireland, Australia, Switzerland, Europe, India, across the USA, Alaska and Hawaii, etc. In this way, he maintains contact with his readers. His books have received awards and excellent reviews.
When not writing or working as a game warden, David often appears on the radio and television. He also speaks at events, covering topics ranging from Native American Indian to military, and all of his writing. He and his family split their time between Northwest Michigan and Hawaii.
Red Heart? Red Blood? the Red Road .
For my People and me I do pray,
To live my life as an Indian,
As the Creator has shown the way.
That my Heart and Spirit are one with nature,
My each and every day.
To do what is right no matter the cost or outlay.
To honor The Great Good Spirit,
In all that I do and say.
To protect those that I must without sway,
I swear my blood oath to Mother Earth,
To live fully? the Shawnee way.