General Benjamin O. Davis
Advanced to general Dec. 9, 1998
Died July 4, 2002
Lieutenant General Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr., is deputy commander
in chief, U.S. Strike Command with headquarters at MacDill Air Force
Base, Fla. He has additional duty as deputy U.S. commander in chief,
Middle-East, Southern Asia and Africa.
General Davis was born in Washington, D.C., in 1912. He graduated
from Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929, attended Western
Reserve University at Cleveland and later the University of Chicago.
He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in July
1932 and graduated in June 1936 with a commission as a second lieutenant
In June 1937 after a year as commander of an infantry company at Fort
Benning, Ga., he entered the Infantry School there and a year later
graduated and assumed duties as professor of military science at Tuskegee
Institute, Tuskegee, Ala. In May 1941 he entered Advanced Flying School
at nearby Tuskegee Army Air Base and received his pilot wings in March
General Davis transferred to the Army Air Corps in May 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 332d
Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, Mich., and returned with the group
to Italy two months later.
He returned to the United States in June 1945 to command the 477th
Composite Group at Godman Field, Ky., and later assumed command of
the Field. In March 1946 he went to Lockbourne Army Air Base, Ohio,
as commander of the base and in July 1947 became commander of the
332d Fighter Wing there.
In 1949 General Davis went to the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force
Base, Ala.; and after graduation, he was assigned to the Deputy Chief
of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington,
D.C. He served in various capacities with the headquarters until July
1953, when he went to the advanced jet fighter gunnery school at Nellis
Air Force Base, Nev.
In November 1953 he assumed duties as commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor
Wing, Far East Air Forces, Korea. He served as director of operations
and training at Far East Air Forces Headquarters, Tokyo, from 1954
until 1955, when he assumed the position of vice commander, Thirteenth
Air Force, with additional duty as commander, Air Task Force 13 (Provisional),
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., in August
1968, and also has additional duty as commander in chief, Middle-East,
Southern Asia and Africa.
His military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service
Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit
with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal
with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two
oak leaf clusters and the Philippine Legion of Honor. He is a command