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Lt. Col. Ben Davis Jr.Ben O. DavisAirmen CadetsAirmen Group Photo in front of plane.

Title - Benjamin O. Davis

In 1936, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was the first African American to graduate from West Point Military Academy in 47 years. First assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, Davis served as an aide to his father, Brigadier General Davis before transferring to the military science staff at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.

As one of the first five graduates to get wings at Tuskegee Army Air Field in March 1942, Davis was assigned to the newly activated 99th Fighter Squadron. By August of that year, he became squadron commander. The 99th left for North Africa early in 1943. The group flew many combat missions under Davis' command. Davis returned to the U.S. in September 1943 to assume command of the 332nd Fighter Group. Maj. George S. "Spanky" Roberts remained in Europe and became the commanding officer of the 99th Fighter Squadron.

The fighter group was transferred to Italy in February 1944 where they maintained an outstanding combat record. The 332nd flew bomber escorts. In March 1945, Davis led the 332nd on a 1,600-mile round-trip escort mission to Berlin. During that mission, the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber, despite an onslaught of the latest and fastest enemy German planes. The 332nd won a Distinguished Unit Citation for the mission.

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