GEORGE F. DAVIS, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

George Davis '34

Date of birth: April 23, 1911

Date of death: January 6, 1945

Age: 33

Lucky Bag

From the 1934 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From Wikipedia's entry:

On 6 January 1945 his ship was covering minesweeping operations in advance of the Lingayen Gulf invasion when she was attacked by four Japanese Kamikazes. Though Walke shot down two, the third plane struck the ship, enveloping her bridge area in burning gasoline. Though horribly burned, Commander Davis remained on his feet, conned the ship, directed damage control efforts and saw to the destruction of the fourth suicide plane. Only when Walke's survival was assured did he relinquish his post to be taken below, where he died a short time later.

For his conduct, Commander George F. Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His body was buried at sea.

Career

From Wikipedia's entry:

Davis was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from the Naval Reserve in 1930 and graduated in May 1934. Ensign Davis' first duty station was the new heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37). While in that ship he served as an aircraft gunnery observer with her embarked aviation units. From 1939 to 1941 Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Davis served as an officer of the destroyer USS Broome (DD-210) and fast minesweeper USS Hopkins (DD-249).

Following promotion to the rank of lieutenant in mid-1941 he was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37), which was sunk on December 7, 1941 when Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor opened the Pacific War.

In January 1942, Lieutenant Davis was transferred to the light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL-48), in which he participated in operations in the Aleutian Islands, the hard fighting over Guadalcanal and the Central Solomons, and the campaign to recover Guam. He was promoted to lieutenant commander and commander while serving in Honolulu, which he left in mid-1944. Following training in advanced surface warfare techniques, he was given command of the destroyer USS Walke (DD-723) in late November 1944.

Medal of Honor

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Commander George Fleming Davis (NSN: 0-73637), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. WALKE (DD-723) engaged in a detached mission in support of minesweeping operations to clear the waters for entry of our heavy surface and amphibious forces preparatory to the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 6 January 1945. Operating without gun support of other surface ships when four Japanese suicide planes were detected flying low overland to attack simultaneously, Commander Davis boldly took his position in the exposed wings of the bridge and directed control to pick up the leading plane and open fire. Alert and fearless as the WALKE's deadly fire sent the first target crashing into the water and caught the second as it passed close over the bridge to plunge into the sea of portside, he remained steadfast in the path of the third plane plunging swiftly to crash the after end of the bridge structure. Seriously wounded when the craft struck, drenched with gasoline and immediately enveloped in flames, he conned the WALKE in the midst of the wreckage; he rallied his command to heroic efforts; he exhorted his officers and men to save the ship and, still on his feet, saw the barrage from his guns destroy the fourth suicide bomber. With the fires under control and the safety of the ship assured, he consented to be carried below. Succumbing several hours later, Commander Davis by his example of valor and his unhesitating self-sacrifice, steeled the fighting spirit of his command into unyielding purpose in completing a vital mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Action Date: January 6, 1945
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Walke (DD-723)

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Commander George Fleming Davis (NSN: 0-73637), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. WALKE (DD-723), in action against the enemy during important operations in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 7 December 1944. Commander Davis, during the shore bombardment, neutralization of enemy shore defenses and units by gunfire, and during a prolonged and heavy engagement with enemy aircraft, fought his ship with the highest skill and courage. When the U.S.S. MAHAN was struck by three enemy planes and damaged beyond possibility of salvage, Commander Davis proceeded to the scene, and despite immediate danger from heavy enemy air attacks and the explosion of magazines in the flaming MAHAN, succeeded in rescuing from the water all of the personnel of the U.S.S. MAHAN with the exception of one officer and five men who were evidently lost when the U.S.S. MAHAN was hit. Later while screening the retiring convoy, the U.S.S. WALKE gave an outstanding exhibition of anti-aircraft gunnery against enemy planes attempting to bomb and crash our ships, which aided materially in bringing down at least fourteen planes. The courageous conduct of Commander Davis was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 03024 (May 24, 1945)
Action Date: December 7, 1944
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Walke (DD-723)

Legion of Merit

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" (Posthumously) to Commander George Fleming Davis (NSN: 0-73637), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer of the U.S.S. HONOLULU (CL-48) in action against the enemy. He participated in eleven operations and engagements from Kiska to Guam. He was an exceptional officer of the deck and served as such in all actions. By excellent organization, thorough training and indoctrination, his department successfully met every emergency and contributed in large measure to the highly successful accomplishment of his ship. His conduct throughout distinguished him among those performing similar duties. (Commander Davis is authorized the Combat "V".)

General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific: Serial 11432 (December 5, 1946)
Action Date: World War II
Rank: Commander
Company: First Lieutenant
Division: U.S.S. Honolulu (CL-48)

Namesake

USS Davis (DD 937) was named for George.


Class of 1934

George is one of 41 members of the Class of 1934 in Memorial Hall.