George Andrew Davis, Jr.

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George Andrew Davis, Jr.
Nickname"Curly"[1]
"One Burst Davis"[1]
Born(1920-12-01)December 1, 1920
Dublin, Texas USA
DiedFebruary 10, 1952(1952-02-10) (aged 31)
Sinuiju, North Korea
Place of burialUnknown[2]
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
 United States Air Force
Years of service1942 – 1952
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel (posthumous)
Service number13035A[3]
Unit342nd Fighter Squadron
71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
Commands held334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War II
New Guinea Campaign
Philippines Campaign
Korean War
"MiG Alley"
AwardsMedal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (4)
Purple Heart
Air Medal (10)
Presidential Unit Citation (3)

George Andrew Davis, Jr. (December 1, 1920 – February 10, 1952) was a highly decorated flying ace of the United States (US) Army in World War II. He was later part of the US Air Force during the Korean War. Davis rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in "MiG Alley" during the war. He was the only flying ace of the United States to be killed in action in Korea.[n 1]

With a total of 21 victories he is one of only seven US military pilots to become an ace in two wars. He is also one of only 31 to be credited more than 20 victories. He was the fourth highest scoring ace of the Korean War.

Biography[change | change source]

George Andrew Davis Jr. was born in Dublin, Texas on December 1, 1920.[4] He was the seventh of nine children born to George Davis Sr. and Pearl Love Davis. In his childhood, Davis briefly lived in Maple, Texas.[1] Davis attended Morton High School in Morton, Texas. Davis then attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas. After completing a degree he returned to Texas.[5] He took up farming for a time with his family before eventually deciding to join the military.[1]

Aerial victory credits[change | change source]

Throughout his career, Davis was credited with 21 confirmed victories, 1 probable victory and 2 aircraft damaged. This made him one of only 30 US pilots to gain more than 20 confirmed victories over their careers.[6] He had been known to be an extremely talented pilot and was especially accurate at deflection shooting, even from long distances against moving targets.[7] Davis was one of 1,297 World War II aces from the United States, with seven confirmed kills during that war. He later became one of 41 Korean War aces from the United States, with 14 confirmed victories during that war. At the time of his death he was the top-scoring ace from the US, making him the ace of aces. By the end of the war, he was the fourth-highest scoring ace.[8]

Date # Type Location Aircraft flown Unit
December 31, 1943 1 Aichi D3A Arawe, New Guinea P-47 Thunderbolt 342 FS, 348 FG
February 3, 1944 1 Ki-61 Hien Wewak, New Guinea P-47 Thunderbolt 342 FS, 348 FG
December 10, 1944 2 Ki-61 Hien Cebu Island, The Philippines P-47 Thunderbolt 342 FS, 348 FG
December 20, 1944 1 A6M Zero Mindoro, The Philippines P-47 Thunderbolt 342 FS, 348 FG
December 23, 1944 2 A6M Zero Clark Field, The Philippines P-47 Thunderbolt 342 FS, 348 FG
November 27, 1951 2 MiG-15 Won-Ok, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
November 30, 1951 3 Tupolev Tu-2 Sahol, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
November 30, 1951 1 MiG-15 Sahol, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
December 5, 1951 1 MiG-15 Rinko-do, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
December 5, 1951 1 MiG-15 Haechang, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
December 12, 1951 2 MiG-15 Yongwon, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
December 12, 1951 2 MiG-15 Changa-Ri, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
February 12, 1952[n 2] 2 MiG-15 Sinuiju, North Korea F-86 Sabre 334 FIS, 8 FIG
Source:[5]

Military awards[change | change source]

Medal of Honor citation[change | change source]

Davis was the third of four members of the US Air Force to be awarded the Medal of Honor in the war, after Louis J. Sebille, John S. Walmsley Jr. and before Charles J. Loring Jr. All four Air Force recipients were pilots and all were awarded the medal posthumously.[9]

Airforce moh.jpg

Maj. Davis distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a flight of 4 F-86 Saberjets on a combat aerial patrol mission near the Manchurian border, Maj. Davis' element leader ran out of oxygen and was forced to retire from the flight with his wingman accompanying him. Maj. Davis and the remaining F-86's continued the mission and sighted a formation of approximately 12 enemy MIG-15 aircraft speeding southward toward an area where friendly fighter-bombers were conducting low level operations against the Communist lines of communications. With selfless disregard for the numerical superiority of the enemy, Maj. Davis positioned his 2 aircraft, then dove at the MIG formation. While speeding through the formation from the rear he singled out a MIG-15 and destroyed it with a concentrated burst of fire. Although he was now under continuous fire from the enemy fighters to his rear, Maj. Davis sustained his attack. He fired at another MIG-15 which, bursting into smoke and flames, went into a vertical dive. Rather than maintain his superior speed and evade the enemy fire being concentrated on him, he elected to reduce his speed and sought out still a third MIG-15. During this latest attack his aircraft sustained a direct hit, went out of control, then crashed into a mountain 30 miles south of the Yalu River. Maj. Davis' bold attack completely disrupted the enemy formation, permitting the friendly fighter-bombers to successfully complete their interdiction mission. Maj. Davis, by his indomitable fighting spirit, heroic aggressiveness, and superb courage in engaging the enemy against formidable odds exemplified valor at its highest.[10]

Distinguished Service Cross citation[change | change source]

Army distinguished service cross medal.png

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Major George Andrew Davis, Jr. (AFSN: 0-671514/13035A), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Squadron Commander, 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, FIFTH Air Force, on 27 November 1951, during an engagement with enemy aircraft near Sinanju, Korea. While leading a group formation of thirty-two F-86 aircraft on a counter air mission, Major Davis observed six MIG-15 aircraft headed southward above the group. With exemplary leadership and superior airmanship, he maneuvered his forces into position for attack. Leading with great tactical skill and courage, Major Davis closed to 800 feet on a MIG-15 over Namsi. He fired on the enemy aircraft, which immediately began burning. A few seconds later, the enemy pilot bailed out of his aircraft. Continuing the attack on the enemy forces, Major Davis fired on the wingman of the enemy flight, which resulted in numerous strikes on the wing roots and the fuselage. As Major Davis broke off his relentless attack on this MIG-l5, another MIG-15 came down on him. He immediately brought his aircraft into firing position upon the enemy and after a sustained barrage of fire, the enemy pilot bailed out. Although low on fuel, he rejoined his group and reorganized his forces to engage the approximate 80 enemy aircraft making the attack. Against overwhelming odds, Major Davis' group destroyed two other MIG-15 aircraft, probably destroyed one and damaged one other. Major Davis' aggressive leadership, his flying skill and devotion to duty contributed invaluable to the United Nations' cause and reflect great credit on himself, the Far East Air forces and the United States Air Force.[11]

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Though he was the only ace killed in action, Davis was not the only US ace to die in the war. Ace Donald E. Adams was killed in an airshow crash in August 1952.
  2. US Air Force did not publicly acknowledge Davis' death until two days later. See Zhang 2004, p. 165.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 King 1952, p. 8
  2. Personnel Missing - Korea (PMKOR): (Report for United States Air Force) (PDF), Washington, D.C.: Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, March 11, 2011, p. 5, retrieved January 4, 2012
  3. Korean War Honor Roll listing: George Andrew Davis Jr. entry, American Battle Monuments Commission, archived from the original on February 15, 2014, retrieved January 4, 2013
  4. Harvey 2003, p. 173
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lorenz & Oliver 1999, p. 25
  6. Lorenz & Oliver 1999, p. 30
  7. Werrell 2005, p. 156
  8. Lorenz & Oliver 1999, p. 32
  9. Ecker 2004, p. 11
  10. Ecker 2004, p. 135
  11. "George Andrew Davis, Jr". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved January 4, 2013.

Sources[change | change source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.