GEORGE ANDREW DAVIS JR. (1920 ~ 1952). Medal of Honor recipient George Davis Jr. was born on December 1, 1920, in Dublin, Texas, to Pearl and George Davis Sr. After graduating from Morton High School in Morton, Texas, he attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas. Davis joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet on March 21, 1942, in Lubbock, Texas. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant after completing flight training on February 16, 1943.
In August 1943, Davis was assigned to the 342 Fighter Squadron, 348 Fighter Group, Fifth Fighter Command of the Southwest Pacific as a P-47 fighter pilot. Between August 30, 1943 and March 23, 1945, Davis completed 266 combat missions with a total of 705 hours of combat flight. During these missions he shot down seven enemy aircraft. For his service in World War II, Davis was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star, and the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters.
Davis returned to the United States May 3, 1945. After completing a Student Flight Refresher Training course at Goodfellow Field, Texas, he was assigned as Base Operations Officer there from July to August 1945. Davis was transferred five times between 1945 and 1951, serving as a Jet Fighter Pilot, Flight Commander, and Air Inspector in California, Tennessee, New York, and Pennsylvania. While stationed at March Air Force Base, California, in 1950, Davis was a member of the Sabre Dancers jet demonstration team, a forerunner of the Air Force Thunderbirds, and was commended by his commanding officer, Colonel Howell Estes, for his performance in a public air show that year. He was promoted to Major in February 1951, and in October of that year he was sent to Korea. Davis was assigned to the Fourth Fighter-Interceptor Group as a Jet Fighter Pilot from October 23 to November 9, 1951. He was then assigned to the 334 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron as Squadron Commander.
On February 10, 1952, Davis led a group of four F-86 jet fighters on a patrol near the Manchurian border. One of the pilots in the group ran out of oxygen and was forced to retire from the area with his wingman. Davis and his wingman continued the patrol. They soon sighted what they estimated to be 12 MIG-15 fighters which were about to attack friendly bombers conducting low-altitude operations nearby. Despite being outnumbered, Davis attacked the MIG formation and shot down two enemy planes. He turned to make another pass and was hit by hostile fire. His wingman, First Lieutenant William Littlefield, saw Davis's plane crash into a mountain 30 miles south of the Yalu River. His body was never recovered. It was Davis's sixtieth combat mission in Korea and the two MIGs he shot down were his thirteenth and fourteenth kills, making him the leading ace pilot at the time.
For his courageous attack, which enabled the bombers to complete their mission, Davis was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, a second Silver Star, a ninth cluster for his Air Medal, and a third cluster for his Distinguished Flying Cross. His wife, Doris Forgason Davis, received the Medal of Honor from General Nathan Twining at Reese Air Force Base on May 14, 1954. Davis's three children, Mary Margaret, George III, and Charles Lynn, his parents, and Senator Lyndon B. Johnson were also in attendance. Davis's name is inscribed on the Wall of the Missing at the National Memorial of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Also, a veteran's memorial was dedicated to him in Lubbock, Texas, on November 16, 1990; his official Medal of Honor headstone was placed there as a cenotaph by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/DD/fda78.html, April 26, 2006. "Lt. Col. George A. Davis Jr.," Korean War 50th Anniversary, United States Air Force Museum, http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/korea50/k50-14.htm, April 26, 2006.