General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Benjamin O. Davis Jr. entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in July 1932. He was shunned by his classmates for the entire time he was there. He persevered through the next 4 years and graduated in June 1936 with a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry. 

On August 21, 1941 he entered Advanced Flying School at nearby Tuskegee Army Air Base. He was in the first group of cadets (class 42-C) to be trained at Tuskegee. There was allot of pressure put on the cadets with the intent of washing them all out, but Davis and four others toughed it out . He and the others received their pilot’s wings on March 7, 1942. 

As commander of the 99th Fighter Squadron at Tuskegee Army Air Base, he moved with his unit to North Africa in April 1943 and later to Sicily. He returned to the United States in October 1943, assumed command of the 332nd Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, Mich., and returned with the group to Italy two months later. By the end of WWII, Davis had flown sixty combat missions and was awarded the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.

He returned to the United States in June 1945 to command the 477th Composite Group at Godman Field, Ky., and later became base commander. In March 1946 he went to Lockbourne Army Air Base, Ohio, as commander of the base and in July 1947 became commander of the 332nd Fighter Wing there. 

In November 1953, he assumed duties as commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, Korea flying the F-86 Sabre jet in combat.  From 1954 to 1955, he served as director of operations and training at Far East Air Forces Headquarters, Tokyo, when he assumed the position of Vice Commander, Thirteenth Air Force, with additional duty as commander, Air Task Force 13. 

In April 1957, General Davis arrived at Ramstein, Germany, as chief of staff, Twelfth Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. When the Twelfth Air Force was transferred to Waco, Texas in December 1957, he assumed new duties as deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany. 

In July 1961 he returned to the United States and Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he served as the director of manpower and organization, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Requirements; and in February 1965 was assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements. He remained in that position until his assignment as chief of staff for the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces in Korea in April 1965. He assumed command of the Thirteenth Air Force at Clark Air Base in the Republic of the Philippines in August 1967. General Davis was assigned as deputy commander in chief, U.S. Strike Command, with headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Stan Stokes On Dec. 9, 1998, Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was advanced to general. President Clinton pinned on his four-star insignia.