Benjamin Oliver Davis (1912-2002) was born in Washington, DC, the son of Sadie (Overton) and Benjamin Oliver Davis. Upon his graduation from West Point in 1936, he requested an assignment in the Air Corps, which did not accept African Americans at the time. Instead he commissioned with the 24th Infantry in Georgia. In 1938 he taught at Tuskegee as professor of military science and tactics. The Army promoted him to the rank of captain in 1940 and a year later assigned him as an aide to his father, then commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade in Fort Riley, Kansas. When the Air Corps began training African American fighter pilots in 1941, Davis participated in the first training program. In 1942 he became commander of the first African American air unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, as lieutenant colonel. From 1943 until the end of World War II, he commanded the 332nd Fighter Group. During the Korean War, he was chief of the Fighter Branch of the U.S. Air Force. He rose through the ranks to brigadier general in 1954, major general in 1959, and lieutenant general in 1965. From 1965 to 1967, he was chief of staff of United Nations Command and United States Forces, Korea. During the Vietnam War, he served in the Philippines, as commander of the 13th Air Force, from 1967 to 1968, and deputy commander-in-chief of U.S. Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base, from 1969 to 1970. In 1970, he retired from military service and began a second career in civil service. After a few months as director of public safety in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970, he joined the federal Department of Transportation. He held the positions of director of civil aviation security and assistant secretary of environment, safety, and consumer affairs, until his retirement in 1975. During his military career, he received three Distinguished Service Medals with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Legions of Merit, and the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters.