Alfonza W. Davis

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Alfonza W. Davis
Born (1919-11-23)November 23, 1919
North Omaha, Nebraska
Died October 30, 1945(1945-10-30) (aged 25)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Years of service 1942 - 1945
Rank captain
Unit Tuskegee Airmen
Commands held Squadron commander, 99th Pursuit Squadron
Awards Purple Heart
Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Unit Citation

Alfonza W. Davis (November 23, 1919 - October 30, 1945) was the first African-American aviator from North Omaha, Nebraska to be awarded his "wings." He was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a recipient of the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Unit Citation. Davis was assumed to be dead after going missing on or about July 30, 1945 over the Adriatic Sea.

Biography[edit]

Davis graduated valedictorian from Omaha's Technical High School in 1937 and went on to attend Omaha University.[1] At Omaha University, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Davis joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 during World War II. He received his flight training at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, becoming the first African American from Omaha to graduate and earn his wings. Having graduated at the top of his flight class, he was chosen to be squadron leader of the 302d Fighter Group based in Italy. He later became attached to the 332d Fighter Group as the Assistant Group Operations Officer.[2] The 332d was an all African American unit, known as the "Red Tail" group because of their special aircraft paint scheme.[3] He achieved the rank of captain, flying mostly the P-51 Mustang escort fighter.

Davis' awards and decorations included: a Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Distinguished Unit Citation. He was credited with one aerial victory in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations on July 16, 1944.

During his last assignment with the 99th Pursuit Squadron as Squadron Commander, one of the fighter group Davis commanded destroyed 83 German aircraft. While on a reconnaissance mission to Munich, Germany, Davis was lost and declared missing in action near the Gulf of Trieste in overcast weather. The United States Department of War later issued a presumptive finding of death while missing in action on October 30, 1945.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Flagpole plaque for Alphonza Davis outside of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

The Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen was founded in Omaha in 1988 to conduct historical research and document the "pioneering men and women in military aviation who served our country, fighting two wars—one against enemy military forces and the other against racism at home and abroad."[3] In 2013 Omaha Public Schools named their newest middle school after him.

Davis is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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