- Davis, Benjamin Oliver, Jr.
- (1912-2002)Born the son of the U.S. Army’s first black general, Benjamin O. Davis Jr. attended the University of Chicago before he became the first African American in the 20th century to graduate from West Point Military Academy in 1936. He was only the second black officer at the time, his father, Benjamin O. Davis Sr., being the other. Although he wanted to serve in the Army Air Corps, Davis was excluded on grounds of color. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, he was subsequently posted to Tuskegee Institute, where he was among the first black pilots to get their wings in 1942. In 1943, as lieutenant colonel, he was given command of the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron and posted to North Africa. He subsequently went to Italy in command of the 332nd Fighter Group. He flew more than 60 missions and in 1944 was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.After World War II, Davis was involved in devising plans for the integration of the air force, and he commanded a fighter group during the Korean War. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1965, and in 1967 he became chief of staff of U.S. forces in Korea. Davis retired from the army in 1970 and in 1971 was assistant secretary of transportation. He retired in 1975. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded him a fourth star to make him a full general.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.