Ray Davis (general): Difference between revisions

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Davis had a close relationship with [[Chesty Puller]], serving with him on [[Battle of Guadalcanal|Guadalcanal]] and in Korea.
Davis had a close relationship with [[Chesty Puller]], serving with him on [[Battle of Guadalcanal|Guadalcanal]] and in Korea.
==Early years==
He was born, then he grew up...
Davis was born on January 13, 1915, in [[Fitzgerald, Georgia]], and graduated in 1933 from Atlanta Technical High School, Atlanta, Georgia. He then entered the [[Georgia School of Technology]], graduating in 1938 with a [[Bachelor of Science]] degree in Chemical Engineering.<ref>{{cite web
|accessdate= |url=http://www.gendavisfund.gatech.edu/bio.html
|title=General Davis: Biography |publisher=General Ray Davis Memorial Endowment}}</ref> While in college he was a member of the [[Reserve Officers Training Corps|ROTC]] unit. After graduation, he resigned his commission in the U. S. Army Infantry Reserve to accept appointment as a [[United States Marine Corps|Marine]] second lieutenant on June 27, 1938.
==Marine Corps career==
==Marine Corps career==

Revision as of 06:06, 30 December 2009

Raymond Gilbert Davis
Raymond G. Davis.jpg  A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Davis as Assistant Commandant in 1971
Nickname(s) Ray
Place of burial Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens College Park, Georgia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1938–1972
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held 1st Special Weapons Battalion
1st Battalion, 1st Marines
1st Battalion, 7th Marines
1st Battalion, 1st Marines
SEATO Expeditionary Brigade, EXLIGTAS
3rd Marine Division
Marine Corps Development and Education Command

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War
Awards Medal of Honor
Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Presidential Medal of Freedom

Raymond Gilbert "Ray" Davis (January 13, 1915 – September 3, 2003) was a highly decorated United States Marine Corps officer, serving in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His single most notable endeavor was the salvation of hundreds of trapped Marines during the 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir while commanding the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His final rank, appointed by President Nixon, was General. He retired from the post of Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on March 31, 1972, after more than 33 years with the Marines.

Davis had a close relationship with Chesty Puller, serving with him on Guadalcanal and in Korea.

He was born, then he grew up...

Marine Corps career


In May 1939, 2dLt Davis completed the Marine Officers' Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and began a year of service with the Marine Detachment on board the USS Portland (CA-33) in the Pacific. He returned to shore duty in July 1940 for weapons and artillery instruction at Quantico, Virginia, and Aberdeen, Maryland. Completing the training in February 1941, he was assigned to the 1st Antiaircraft Machine Gun Battery, 1st Marine Division at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He returned to the United States with the unit in April, and the following month was appointed battery executive officer, serving in that capacity at Parris Island, South Carolina, and Quantico. He was promoted to first lieutenant in August 1941. That September, he moved with the battery to the Marine Barracks, New River (later Camp Lejeune), North Carolina. Upon his promotion to captain in February 1942, he was named battery commander.

World War II

During World War II, he participated in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings, the capture and defense of Guadalcanal, the Eastern New Guinea and Cape Gloucester campaigns, and the Peleliu operation.

Beginning in June 1942, he embarked with his unit for the Pacific area, landing at Guadalcanal two months later. After that campaign, he was appointed Executive Officer of the 1st Special Weapons Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He was promoted to major on February 28, 1943. In October of that year, Major Davis took over command of the battalion and served in that capacity at New Guinea and Cape Gloucester. In April 1944, while on Cape Gloucester, he was named Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Major Davis' action while commanding the 1st Battalion at Peleliu in September 1944 earned him the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart. Although wounded during the first hour of the Peleliu landing, he refused evacuation to remain with his men; and, on one occasion, when heavy Marine casualties and the enemy's point-blank cannon fire had enabled the Japanese to break through, he personally rallied and led his men in fighting to re-establish defense positions. In October 1944, he returned to Pavuvu and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.


Returning to the United States in November 1944, LtCol Davis was assigned to Quantico as Tactical Inspector, Marine Corps Schools. He was named Chief of the Infantry Section, Marine Air-Infantry School, Quantico, in May 1945, and served in that post for two years before returning to the Pacific area in July 1947 to serve with the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade on Guam. He was the 1st Brigade's Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training), until August 1948, and from then until May 1949, was Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4 (Logistics). Upon his return from Guam in May 1949, he was named Inspector-Instructor of the 9th Marine Corps Reserve Infantry Battalion in Chicago, Illinois. He served there until August 1950 when he embarked for Korea.

Korean War

Davis as a LtCol in 1952

In Korea, LtCol Davis commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, from August to December 1950. During this time one of his men described him as, "...from Georgia and soft spoken. No gruff, no bluff. Never talked down to you and made you feel comfortable in his presence[1]" He earned the nation's highest decoration for heroism, the Medal of Honor, during the 1st Marine Division's fight to break out of the Chosin Reservoir area. There, against overwhelming odds, he led his battalion in a terrific four-day battle at Yudam-ni after which he marched his battalion at night, over mountains in a driving snowstorm to save Captain William Barber's Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines from annihilation at the Toktong Pass. This action also opened the mountain pass to Hagaru-ri allowing the two trapped Marine regiments to escape and link up with the rest of the division at Hagaru-ri.[2] The award was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in a White House ceremony on November 24, 1952.

In addition to receiving the Medal of Honor for action during that period, he twice earned the Silver Star Medal for exposing himself to heavy enemy fire while leading and encouraging his men in the face of strong enemy opposition. He also received the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” for exceptionally meritorious conduct and professional skill in welding the 1st Battalion into a highly effective combat team. Later, as Executive Officer of the 7th Marines, from December 1950 to June 1951, LtCol Davis earned the Bronze Star with Combat "V” for his part in rebuilding the regiment after the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He returned from Korea in June 1951.


Ordered to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D. C., LtCol Davis served in the Operations Subsection, G-3, Division of Plans and Policies, until February 1952, when he took charge of the subsection. In April 1953, he became Head of the Operations and Training Branch, G-3 Division. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to colonel in October 1953.

The following July Col Davis attended the Special Weapons Employment Course, Fleet Training Center, Norfolk, Virginia, under instruction. In September 1954, he entered the Senior Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. Upon completing the course in June 1955, he served consecutively as Assistant Director and, later, Director, of the Senior School. In October 1957, he was again transferred to Washington, D. C., and served there as Assistant G-2, Headquarters Marine Corps, until August 1959.


In June 1960, he completed the course at the National War College in Washington, D.C. Assigned next to Headquarters, United States European Command, in Paris, France, he served from July 1960 through June 1963, as Chief, Analysis Branch, J-2, Staff of the Commander in Chief, Europe. On July 1, 1963, he was promoted to brigadier general while en route to the United States.

Brigadier General Davis' next assignment was in the Far East where he served as Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, on Okinawa, from October 1963 to November 1964. During this period, he also performed additional duty as Commanding General, SEATO Expeditionary Brigade, EXLIGTAS, in the Philippines, during June 1964; and as Commanding General, 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, in China Sea Contingency Operations, from August 2, to October 16, 1964.

In December 1964, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps. He served as Assistant Director of Personnel until March 1965, then served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, until March 1968. For his service in the latter capacity, he was awarded a second Legion of Merit. He was promoted to major general in November 1966.

Vietnam War

Ordered to the Republic of Vietnam, MajGen Davis served briefly as Deputy Commanding General, Provisional Corps, then became Commanding General, 3rd Marine Division. When he took command of the division, he ordered Marine units to move out of their combat bases and engage the enemy. He had noted that the manning of the bases and the defensive posture they had developed was contrary to their normally aggressive style of fighting. As part of this change in tactics he would order Operation Dewey Canyon in early 1969 to engage the NVA in the A Shau Valley. Of note during this battle is that Davis' son Miles, a platoon commander with K/3/9, was wounded in action.[3] For his service as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division from May 22, 1968 until April 14, 1969, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, and three personal decorations by the Vietnamese Government.

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See also




  1. ^ Russ Breakout, p.12.
  2. ^ Russ Breakout, pgs.284-302.
  3. ^ Sterner, C. Douglas (2001). "Operation Dewey Canyon" (PDF). Wesley Fox. Retrieved 2006-01-06.  (PDF file, posted on the Official website of the 1st Battalion 9th Marines Network, Inc.)


  • Fehrenbach, T.R. (1963). This Kind of War. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-259-7. 
  • Russ, Martin (1999). Breakout” – The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea, 1950. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14029-259-4. 


External links

Further reading