Davis, Benjamin Oliver, Jr., 1912-2002

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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.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Artwork: "COL. Noel F. Parrish, commanding officer, Tuskegee Army Flying School, and the First Black Pilots to Receive Wings in The Air Corps - 1942: LT. MAC Ross, LT. George S. Roberts, CAPT. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., LT. Charles DeBow, and LT. Lemuel R. Curtis."- Artist: Roy LaGrone EXACT DATE SHOT UNKNOWN National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. PRESIDENT JOHNSON VISITS SEOUL, KOREA National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Davis, Benjamin O. (Benjamin Oliver), 1912-2002. Reminiscences of Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. : oral history, 1973. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993. Papers, 1949-1991 (bulk 1961-1991). Library of Congress
creatorOf Stokes, Carl. Papers, 1957-1972. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
referencedIn OF 2369: Davis, Gen. Benjamin O. 1936-1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
referencedIn Parrish, Noel Francis. Papers, 1894-1987 (bulk 1930-1987). Library of Congress
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. WAR MEMORIAL DEDICATION, CORREGIDOR, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Davis, Benjamin O. (Benjamin Oliver), 1912-2002. Reminiscences of Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. and Agatha Scott Davis : oral history, 1973. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief of Transportation. 1917 - 1966. Photographic Albums of Prints of Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. TM-76A MACE MISSILE IN EUROPE National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. CinC strike retirement, MacDill AFB, Florida National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. From These Beginnings (Outtakes, SFP 2252), Tuskegee, Alabama, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, California National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Peck, Allen, L., 1910-1997. Oral history interview with Allen L. Peck, [sound recording], 1994. Wisconsin Veterans Museum Research Center
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Artworks and Mockups for Cartoons Promoting the War Effort and Original Sketches by Charles Alston. 1942 - 1945. LIEUT. COL. BENJAMIN O. DAVIS, JR. - AIR FIGHTER National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993. Thurgood Marshall papers, 1949-1991 (bulk 1961-1991). Library of Congress
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DEPUTY CINC MEAFSA TOUR, MONROVIA, LIBERIA, ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST, KINSHASA AND LUBUMBASHI, CONGO, NAIROBI, KENYA, AMMON, JORDAN, TEHRAN, IRAN, AND MACDILL AFB, FLORIDA National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Fletcher, Marvin. The Marvin Fletcher collection, 1887 -1986. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn Joe Beach, a Graphic Illustrator for the Multimedia Center, at Randolph Air Force Base (AFB), painted a portrait of General (GEN) Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. for the 99th Flying Training Wing and its squadron heritage project United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Parrish, Noel Francis. Papers of Noel Francis Parrish, 1894-1987 (bulk 1930-1987). Library of Congress
referencedIn Noel Francis Parrish Papers, 1894-1987, (bulk 1930-1987) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Personality Index to Black and White and Color Negatives, Slides, and Transparencies of U.S. Air Force Activities, Facilities, and Personnel National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of the Army Staff. 1903 - 2009. Photographs of U.S. and Foreign Military Personnel, Defense Department and Other Government Officials, Royalty, and Heads of State. 1964-1974. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of the Office of War Information. 1926 - 1951. Photographs of World War II Activities, Domestic and Foreign National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. 91ST STRATEGIC RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON STORY National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DEDICATION OF STRIKE COMMAND HEADQUARTERS, MAC DILL AFB, FLORIDA National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Thurgood Marshall Papers, 1949-1991, (bulk 1961-1991) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Davis, Benjamin O. (Benjamin Oliver), 1912-2002. Reminiscences of Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. : oral history, 1973. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn "Staff officers of an...Air Corp Squadron near Fez, French Morocco. Left to right: Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, C.O.; Capt. Hayden C. Johnson, Adjutant; Capt. E. Jones, Service Det.; Lt. Wm. R. Thompson, Armaments; Lt. Hervert E. Carter, Engineers; Lt. Erwin B. Lawrence, Operations; Lt. George R. Currie, Ordnance." United States. National Archives and Records Administration
Relation Name
associatedWith Davis, Agatha Scott. person
childOf Davis, Benjamin O., 1880-1970 person
associatedWith Fletcher, Marvin. person
associatedWith Gropman, Alan L., 1938-, person
correspondedWith Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993. person
associatedWith Parrish, Noel Francis. person
associatedWith Peck, Allen, L., 1910-1997 person
associatedWith Stokes, Carl. person
employeeOf Tuskegee Institute corporateBody
memberOf United States. Air Force corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army Air Forces. Fighter Squadron, 99th corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf United States Military Academy corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Chicago. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Washington, D. C. DC US
Washington, D. C. DC US
Subject
Air pilots--Interviews
Veterans--Interviews
African Americans--Segregation
Occupation
Airmen
Generals
Public officers
Airforce officers
Function

Person

Birth 1912-12-18

Death 2002-07-04

Male

Americans

English

Information

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