Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr was born in Washington, D.C. on December 18, 1912, the second of three children born to Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and Elnora Dickerson Davis. His father was a U.S. Army officer, and at the time was stationed in Wyoming serving as a lieutenant with an all-white cavalry unit. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. served 42 years before he was promoted to brigadier general. Elnora Davis died from complications after giving birth to their third child (Elnora) in 1916. At the age of 13, in the summer of 1926, the younger Davis went for a flight with a barnstorming pilot at Bolling Field in Washington, D.C. The experience led to his determination to become a pilot himself. He was the first officer to get his wings from the Tuskegee Army Air Field on March 7, 1942. After attending the University of Chicago, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1932. He was sponsored by Representative Oscar De Priest (R-IL) of Chicago, at the time, the only black member of Congress. During the entire four years of his Academy term, Davis was shunned by his classmates, few of whom spoke to him outside the line of duty. He never had a roommate. He ate by himself. His classmates hoped that this would drive him out of the Academy. The "silent treatment" had the opposite effect. It made Davis more determined to graduate. Nevertheless, he earned the respect of his classmates, as evidenced by the biographical note beneath his picture in the 1936 yearbook, the Howitzer: "The courage, tenacity, and intelligence with which he conquered a problem incomparably more difficult than plebe year won for him the sincere admiration of his classmates, and his single-minded determination to continue in his chosen career cannot fail to inspire respect wherever fortune may lead him." He graduated in 1936, 35th in a class of 278. He was the academy's fourth black graduate. When he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, the Army had a grand total of two black line officers — Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. After graduation he married Agatha Scott. At the start of his senior year at West Point, Davis had applied for the Army Air Corps but was rejected because it did not accept blacks. He was instead assigned to the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment (one of the original Buffalo Soldier regiments) at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was not allowed inside the base officers' club. He later attended the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, but then was assigned to teach military tactics at Tuskegee Institute, a black college in Alabama. This was something his father had done years before. It was the Army's way to avoid having a black officer in command of white soldiers.
Early in 1941, the Roosevelt administration, in response to public pressure for greater black participation in the military as war approached, ordered the War Department to create a black flying unit. Captain Davis was assigned to the first training class at Tuskegee Army Air Field (hence the name Tuskegee Airmen), and in March 1942 won his wings as one of five black officers to complete the course. He was the first black officer to solo an Army Air Corps aircraft. In July that year, having been promoted to lieutenant colonel, he was named commander of the first all-black air unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The squadron, equipped with Curtiss P-40 fighters, was sent to Tunisia in North Africa in the spring of 1943. On June 2, they saw combat for the first time in a dive-bombing mission against the German-held island of Pantelleria. The squadron later supported the Allied invasion of Sicily. In September 1943, Davis was called back to the United States to take command of the 332nd Fighter Group, a larger all-black unit preparing to go overseas. Soon after his arrival, however, there was an attempt to stop the use of black pilots in combat. Senior officers in the Army Air Forces recommended to the Army chief of staff, General George Marshall, that the 99th (Davis's old unit) be removed from combat operations as it had performed poorly. This infuriated Davis as he had never been told of any deficiencies with the unit. He held a news conference at The Pentagon to defend his men and then presented his case to a War Department committee studying the use of black servicemen. Marshall ordered an inquiry but allowed the 99th to continue fighting in the meantime. The inquiry eventually reported that the 99th's performance was comparable to other air units, but any questions about the squadron's fitness were answered in January 1944 when its pilots shot down 12 German planes in two days while protecting the Anzio beachhead. Colonel Davis and his 332d Fighter Group arrived in Italy soon after that. The four-squadron group, which was called the Red Tails for the distinctive markings of its planes, were based at Ramitelli and flew many missions deep into German territory. By summer 1944 the Group had transitioned to P-47 Thunderbolts. In the summer of 1945, Davis took over the all-black 477th Bombardment Group, which was stationed at Godman Field, Kentucky. During the war, the airmen commanded by Davis had compiled an outstanding record in combat against the Luftwaffe. They flew more than 15,000 sorties, shot down 111 enemy planes, and destroyed or damaged 273 on the ground at a cost of 66 of their own planes and losing only about twenty-five bombers. Davis himself led dozens of missions in P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs. He received the Silver Star for a strafing run into Austria and the Distinguished Flying Cross for a bomber-escort mission to Munich on June 9, 1944.
In July 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order ordering the racial integration of the armed forces. Colonel Davis helped draft the Air Force plan for implementing this order. The Air Force was the first of the services to integrate fully.
Davis served at the Pentagon and in overseas posts over the next two decades. He again saw combat in 1953 when he assumed command of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (51 FIW) and flew an F-86 Sabre in Korea. He served as Director of Operations and Training at Far East Air Forces Headquarters, Tokyo, from 1954 until 1955, when he assumed the position of Vice Commander, Thirteenth Air Force (13 AF), with additional duty as commander, Air Task Force 13 (Provisional), Taipei, Formosa. In April 1957 General Davis arrived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as chief of staff, Twelfth Air Force (12 AF), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). When the Twelfth Air Force was transferred to James Connally Air Force Base, Texas in December 1957, he assumed new duties as deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany. In July 1961, he returned to the United States and Headquarters U.S. Air Force where he served as the Director of Manpower and Organization, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Requirements; and in February 1965 was assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements. He remained in that position until his assignment as chief of staff for the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK) in April 1965. He assumed command of the Thirteenth Air Force (13 AF) at Clark Air Base in the Republic of the Philippines in August 1967. Davis was assigned as deputy commander in chief, U.S. Strike Command, with headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in August 1968, with additional duty as commander in chief, Middle-East, Southern Asia and Africa. He retired from active military service on February 1, 1970. On December 9, 1998, Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was advanced to the rank of General, U.S. Air Force (Retired), with President Clinton pinning on his four-star insignia.[
ALDINE ISD STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION
It is the policy of Aldine ISD not to discriminate or engage in harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, or any other legally protected status in its educational and vocational programs, services or activities or matters related to employment as required by Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Age Discrimination in Employment Act; Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
Inquiries regarding the Aldine ISD nondiscrimination policies in the following areas should be directed to:
Title IX & Title VI: Dr. Archie Blanson, Deputy Superintendent, 14910 Aldine Westfield Rd., Houston, TX 77032 (281) 449-1011 EEO & ADA (Employees and Public): Dr. Archie Blanson, Deputy Superintendent, 14910 Aldine Westfield Rd., Houston, TX 77032 (281) 449-1011 Section 504 & ADA (Students): Dr. Charlotte Davis, Director of Guidance and Counselling, 14910 Aldine Westfield Rd., Houston, TX 77032 (281) 985-6452