George Davis

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George Davis was a US Air Force pilot who flew F-86 Sabers in the Korean War and was the only Saber pilot to win the Medal of Honor.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, George Davis had been a P-47 pilot and an ace with the 348th Fighter Group in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He ended the war with seven victories, including two Zeros shot down on a mission over the Philippines on Christmas Eve, 1944.[1]

In the Korean War, now-Major Davis flew with the 4th Fighter Wing as commander of the 334th Fighter Squadron, and quickly became one of the top guns of the war. His first two kills were two MiGs, shot down on November 27, 1951. He became the war’s fifth Saber ace three days later, when he and thirty other F-86s intercepted a flight of North Korean bombers. Davis shot down three Tu-2 piston-engine bombers and one MiG-15. He scored twice more on December 8, and downed four MiGs in a single mission eight days later. The quadruple kill made Davis the first American double ace in Korea. On February 10, he was on his 59th mission, leading a combat air patrol screening a force of medium bombers on a mission near the Yalu River. When a flight of 10 MiGs attacked, Davis and his wingman flew into them. Davis downed two, but after they had gone through the enemy formation, Davis slowed down to fire on another MiG. Apparently, this gave one of the trailing MiGs a clear shot at him, and Davis’ Saber was hit by at least two 37 mm shells. His Saber went out of control and crashed into a mountainside, and Davis never ejected. For his actions during this mission and his courage in the face of overwhelming odds, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.[2][3] In addition, he was posthumously promoted to Lt. Colonel.

His total of 14 victories made him the top scoring American ace of the Korean War at the time, and by the end of the war, his score had been surpassed by only three other pilots.[4]

References

  1. Mustang and Thunderbolt Aces of the Pacific and CBI, by John Stanaway, Osprey Publishing, 1999
  2. F-86 Sabre Aces of the 4th Fighter Wing, by Warren Thompson, Osprey Publishing, 2006
  3. Rolling Thunder: Jet Combat from World War II to the Gulf War, by Ivan Rendall, Dell Publishing, 1997
  4. Aircraft vs. Aircraft: The Illustrated Story of Fighter Pilot Combat from 1914 to the Present Day, by Norman Franks, Barnes & Noble Books, 1998

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