Brad Hosmer and Nancy Gardner know that their daughter, Shannon, is a strong woman, capable of making good decisions. But in their hearts, she’ll always be their little girl. So when Shannon announced that she was joining the Army, her parents were surprised and a little concerned.


“I kind of knew their reaction would be a little, like, ‘Are you crazy? What are you thinking?’”

— SPC Davis

Like the parents of many Soldiers, Brad and Nancy were worried about deployment. “Personally, I didn’t really want her to go,” states Brad. But Shannon’s understanding of the commitment she was making, and her desire to serve and make a difference in the world, impressed and reassured them.

“Her exact words were, ‘I want to serve my country,’” says Brad.

Brad and Nancy were anxious as Shannon completed her Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training and soon after received her orders for deployment. Brad kept in close contact with Shannon during her time overseas through letters, phone calls, and daily emails. The incredible pride he and Nancy felt was overwhelming. The entire family is impressed by Shannon’s sense of duty, her courage and her strength as a Soldier and an individual. Brad says, “Her brother thinks the world of her. She’s just his superhero. [I’m] that way too.”


“Superman himself could land next to me and I’d say, ‘Excuse me, sir. You’re blocking the view of my daughter.’”

— Brad Hosmer

The Army has given Shannon rare opportunities to explore her talents, her physical strength and her curiosity about the world. Nancy was aware that her daughter longed to travel beyond her rural Massachusetts home and wanted her to be fulfilled in life.

“She needed to venture out of here. This is country; Shannon needed excitement.”

— Nancy Gardner

Shannon admits that she was prepared for her parents to be nervous when she announced that she was joining the Army, but she also knew they would be supportive of her decision. They haven’t disappointed her. “I feel with her energy, she just figured that the Army would give her that opportunity to step out, ‘Show me some stuff, let me grab something here,’” says Brad.

The close-knit family spends time together whenever they can. “When Shannon comes home, we load up the rigs and load up the 4-bys, and she wants to go wheeling,” says Brad. “We set out for the day, wheeling, pack some lunch, make a day of it.” Nancy adds, “And she has to drive, she can’t just be a passenger.”


“I remember saying, ‘Are you sure, Shannon, you can handle this?’ She goes, ‘Dad, I just drove a Humvee for a year and a half, I think I can handle this.’”

— Brad Hosmer

Brad takes a lot of joy in his daughter’s success in the Army, and jokingly credits some of her skill behind the wheel of a Humvee to the 4-wheeling he does with her. He kids that when it was time for her to “jump a curb, go down into a ditch…” she knew what to do, because she did it at home. “I always say, I learned from my father,” says Shannon.


Specialist Shannon Lee Hosmer Davis