Ernest D. Davis, Sr.

Picture of Ernie Davis ERNEST D. DAVIS, SR., MAJOR USAF (RET.), born 18 August 1921 in New York City, attended Cornell University and Pratt Institute for two years before attempting to enter the Aviation Cadet program in 1940.

Unable to pass the rigid visual acuity test, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in September and a year later applied for the Aviation Student Pilot Program. After Pearl Harbor, he was transferred from Keesler Field to Miami Beach, where he was a member of the cadre for the Officer Candidate School and was acting First Sergeant of a Sq. until April 1942 when he received orders for Flight Training and entered class 42-K at Kelly Field, graduating as a Flight Officer in December 1942.

Initial combat training was at Barksdale Field. He flew a B-26 across the South Atlantic route to join his Sq. in the ETO and after completing 50 missions and 181 hrs., he was reassigned to Lake Charles, La., flying the first models of the A-26 Invader. He later was assigned to New Castle, Del., where he flew the P-38, P-51 and A-26.

Assignments in Brazil, Texas and Louisiana led to his transfer to the 36th Ftr. Wg. at Furstenfeldbruck, Gy., where he received his Senior Pilot rating as a 1st Lt. and was upgraded to P-80 and P-84 jets which he flew for 3 1/2 yrs.

1952 brought assignment to the 1738th Ferry Sq. in Long Beach, Calif. where he again flew P-47s delivering them to the Caribbean Island Nations and South America. He then flew F-86 and F-100 jets and was assigned as Det. Comm. at North American Aviation. During this period he delivered jet fighters across the North Atlantic on "High Flights" where, as Mission Commander for 10 missions, he received an Air Medal. Transferring in 1957 to Osan AFB Korea, he was an Operations Officer with the 311th Ftr. Sq. where he was awarded his Command Pilot Rating. Returning to Andrews AFB, he served until his retirement as a Major in 1963.

During his military career he flew nearly 5,000 hrs. with over 1,000 hrs. in the P-47. His awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross w /1 cluster, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal w /9 clusters.

After retirement he wrote "The Eagle is Dead" published in 1977. He received his BS from University of Maryland and is a charter member and Past President of the South Dade Chapter of The Retired Officers Assoc., a member and officer of the Order of Daedalians, Military Order of World Wars and the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Assoc.

He was married in 1943 to the former Maida Stickler of Miami and has four children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

List of all p51 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
W.B. 'Tex' Badger Eight and Ninth Air Force in WWII. B-l7's, P-51's and P-47's. Fifth Air Force in Korea, F80's and F86's. WWII and Korea, Flew 156 missions. Tactical units served in with the USAAF and USAF were: 305th BG , 368th Fighter Group, 4th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Wing, 506th Fighter Wing.
Robert T. (Bob) Bagby He trained in P47's at Cross City and Dale Mabry Fields, Florida and then joined the 341st FS Black Jack Squadron), 348th FG of the 5th AF in Brisbane, Australia in June 1943. Bob flew 78 combat missions in New Guinea (Port Moresby, Finchafen, Sador, Wakde and Biak) primarily as wingman to squadron CO's John Campbell and John Moore. Also privileged to fly wing to Neil Kirby on several occasions.
Frank Baker After brief stops at Stone and Atcham, England he joined the 313th Fighter Squadron of the 50th Fighter Group in France. He flew 90 missions through V.E. Day. Most of the missions were close support attacks on various ground targets with a few B-26 escort missions thrown in. All of the missions took place in eastern France and southern Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.
John M. Balason To relieve the boredom, Balason went down on the deck and blew up a locomotive he had observed at altitude. A few seconds after making his strafing pass he received a hit in his left wing tank and a fire started immediately in the cockpit. The paralyzing effect of the intense heat made climbing out of the cockpit impossible.
Albert W. Barlow, Jr. He flew 69 escort and ground support missions. Destroyed one E/A (ME-I09). Was shot down on Sept. 8, 1944, and evaded enemy ground forces for 8 days. Was picked up by an American Recon. Unit behind the German lines. Was hospitalized until Feb. 1948, when he was medically retired with the rank of Capt. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and Purple Heart.
William T. Beckler In July, 1944 Beckler exchanged his P-40 for a P-47N Thunderbolt. Missions in the Jug covered Northern Italy and Southern France. These included escorting medium bombers. The Bombers, based in Southern Italy, would be escorted to France by Thunderbolts based on Corsica. Shortly before target the Jugs would pull ahead of the bombers and bomb the enemy gun positions. Beckler's activities while participation in three major campaigns earned him the DFC, two Air Medals and two Presidential citations.
Herbert R. Benson After training in P-47 Thunderbolts at bases in North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, he was assigned to the European Theatre of operations and joined the 48th Fighter Group 493rd Fighter Squadron at St. Trond, Belgium. After flying 44 combat missions, he was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf clusters.
Marvin C. Bigelow Training in the Southeast Training Command with the class of 44C, he graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant single engine pilot at Marianna, Florida with the class of 44D. After checking out in the P-40 at Marianna, he transitioned in the P-47 in the Northeast Defense Command and after gunnery at Dover, Delaware was shipped on the Queen Mary to England.
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