Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr.
December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002
Military service is in the DNA of Benjamin O. Davis Jr. He is the son of the U.S. Army’s first African-American general. Davis himself was not only a highly decorated officer, but he became the U.S. Air Force’s first African-American general. He ultimately served a total of 33 years active duty before retiring in 1970.
In 1936, Davis graduated from the Military Academy in West Point, New York. At the time, he was one of only two Black combat soldiers in the Army (his father, Davis Sr. was the other). Davis refused to accept second hand treatment for pilots of color. He met resistance for attempts at deserved promotions. But his dedication and conviction paved the way for African-Americans to earn leadership positions in the Air Force.
Davis commanded the 99th Pursuit Squadron, more popularly known as the Tuskegee Airmen, in World War II. He later led a different squadron in the Korean War.
He published his memoir in 1991 entitled, “Benjamin O. Davis Jr.: American”