Russell C. Davis

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Russell C. Davis
Russell c davis.jpg
Lieutenant General (Ret.) Russell C. Davis
Born (1938-10-22) October 22, 1938 (age 79)
Tuskegee, Alabama
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1958-2002
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Unit United States Air Force
Iowa Air National Guard
D.C. National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Commands held 113th Tactical Fighter Wing
D.C. National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Awards Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Air Force Commendation Medal (2)
Army Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal (9)
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal (2)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Other work Attorney

Lieutenant General Russell C. Davis (born October 22, 1938) was a United States Air Force Lieutenant General who served as commander of the District of Columbia National Guard and Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Early life[edit]

Russell C. Davis was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on October 22, 1938,[1] and graduated from Tuskegee Institute High School.[2] As recounted in a speech at Simpson College, Davis's great-great grandfather, a former slave, helped raise money to found what now is known as Tuskegee University. Davis’s grandfather worked with George Washington Carver at Tuskegee, and Davis related that when he was a child attending a nursery school on campus, Carver was still a well-known figure at the school, the "tall man in a lab coat who gave us childrens candy."[3]

He began his military career in 1958 as an aviation cadet in the United States Air Force, and he received his commission in 1960.[4] Following pilot training, he was assigned at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska, and he graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor of Arts degree in general education in 1963.[5] After serving as a bomber pilot, he was released from active duty in April, 1965 and joined the Iowa Air National as an interceptor pilot.[6]

Start of National Guard career[edit]

Upon release from active duty Davis joined the 132nd Fighter Wing, Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines. He served in numerous command and staff positions from squadron pilot to director of operations, and advanced through the ranks to Colonel.[7]

In 1969, Davis completed his Juris Doctor degree at Drake University and became an attorney. He actively practiced until 1979, when he went back on active duty with the Air National Guard. Davis graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1973 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1979.[8]

Later National Guard career[edit]

In June, 1979 Davis was appointed as Chief of Manpower and Personnel at the Air National Guard Support Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. From March, 1980 to January, 1982 he was Executive Officer to the Director of the Air National Guard.[9]

From February, 1982 to July, 1990 he commanded the 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, and he was promoted to Brigadier General in December, 1982. Davis was the first African-American to become a general officer in the Air National Guard.[10]

In 1989 Davis graduated from the National and International Security Management Course at Harvard University.

Davis was the Assistant for National Guard Matters for the commander of the Tactical Air Command from July, 1990 to December, 1991. He was promoted to Major General in August, 1990.[11]

D.C. National Guard[edit]

In December, 1991 Davis was appointed commander of the District of Columbia National Guard. He served in this position until December, 1995.[12]

National Guard Bureau[edit]

In December, 1995 Davis was appointed Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau.[13] He held this post until August, 1998, when he was named Chief of the National Guard Bureau and promoted to Lieutenant General.[14] Davis was the first African-American to serve as NGB Chief,[15] and he held the position until retiring in November, 2002.

At the time of his retirement, Davis was the last member of the U.S. Air Force Aviation Cadet program to still be serving on active duty in the U.S. Air Force.[16]


Davis was active in several educational and civic endeavors, including serving as member of the Drake University Board of Trustees and President of National Tuskeege Airmen, Inc. He also works as a consultant in national securities, homeland security/defense, aviation operations and safety, training and development, equal opportunity and diversity and a wide variety of legal issues.[17]



  1. December 1958 - March 1960, undergraduate pilot training, Graham Air Base, Florida and Vance AFB, Oklahoma
  2. March 1960 - October 1960, strategic bombardment pilot, 4347th Combat Crew Training Wing, McConnell AFB, Kansas
  3. October 1960 - April 1965, bomber pilot, 344th Bomber Squadron, Lincoln AFB, Nebraska
  4. April 1965 - September 1968, pilot, 124th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Iowa ANG, Des Moines
  5. September 1968 - September 1970, flight commander, 124th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Iowa National Guard, Des Moines
  6. September 1970 - June 1977, air operations officer, 132nd Tactical Fighter Group, Iowa ANG, Des Moines
  7. June 1977 - October 1978, officer in charge, Command Post, 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Iowa ANG, Des Moines
  8. October 1978 - June 1979, Deputy Commander of Operations, Headquarters Iowa ANG, Des Moines
  9. June 1979 - February 1980, Deputy Chief, Manpower and Personnel, Air National Guard Support Center, Andrews AFB, Maryland
  10. March 1980 - January 1982, Executive to the Chief, National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
  11. February 1982 - July 1990, Wing Commander, 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, District of Columbia ANG, Andrews AFB, Maryland
  12. July 1990 - December 1991, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, Virginia
  13. December 1991 - December 1995, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard, Washington, D.C.
  14. December 1995 - August 1998, Vice Chief, NGB, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
  15. August 1998 - November 2002, Chief, NGB, Arlington, Virginia

Flight information[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png US Air Force Command Pilot Badge
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.
Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Width-44 myrtle green ribbon with width-3 white stripes at the edges and five width-1 stripes down the center; the central white stripes are width-2 apart Army Commendation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal with silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver and three bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award (tenth award requires second ribbon due to accouterment spacing)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with gold hourglass device
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon
Other awards and achievements
  • 1956–1958: University scholar, Tuskegee University
  • 1969: Jury Award, Drake University Law School
  • 1984: NAACP Roy Wilkins Achievement Award
  • 1985: Air Force Association Service Award, Air Force Association Headquarters
  • 1985: Tuskegee Airmen Achievement Award
  • 1987: Tuskegee Airmen Achievement and Service Award
  • 1988: Ira Eaker Fellow, Tony Anthony Chapter, AFA
  • 1990: Howard Kacy Flying Safety Award, District of Columbia ANG
  • 1992-1998: Drake University Board of Trustees
  • 2012 Carver Medal, Simpson College

Effective dates of promotion[edit]

Insignia Rank Date
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General  September 1, 1998
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General August 3, 1990
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General December 16, 1982
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel January 26, 1979
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel October 13, 1973
US-O4 insignia.svg Major March 19, 1969
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain March 18, 1965
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant March 18, 1963
US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant March 18, 1960


  1. ^ Robert Ewell Greene, Black Defenders of the Persian Gulf War, 1991, page 43
  2. ^ Charlie Cooper, Ann Cooper, Tuskegee's Heroes, 2001, pages 136-137
  3. ^ Simpson College, Carver Medal Winner Surprises College With Gift of His Own, February 16, 2012
  4. ^ Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, The Journal magazine, Volumes 88-89, 2002, page 43
  5. ^ UNO Alumni Magazine
  6. ^ Tuskeege Airmen Scholarship Foundation, Board of Directors Biography, Russell C. Davis, 2010
  7. ^ Congressional Record, Extension of Remarks: A tribute to Lieutenant General Russell C. Davis, Rep. Barbara Lee, November 14, 2002
  8. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, Memorandum Number: No. 076-M, Announcement of Russell C. Davis Appointment as Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau], March 23, 1995
  9. ^ Richard Bailey, They Too Call Alabama Home: African American Profiles, 1800-1999, 1999, page 111
  10. ^ United States Department of the Air Force, The Air Reservist, Volume 35, 1982, page 4
  11. ^ National Guard Bureau, A History of the District of Columbia Air National Guard, 1996, page 88
  12. ^ National Guard Bureau, On Guard, May–June, 2002, page 16
  13. ^ Military Times, Hall of Valor, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Citation, Russell C. Davis, 2013
  14. ^ Tuskeege Times Daily, Tuskeege Native to Head Guard, August 14, 1998
  15. ^ U.S. Army Reserve, Army Reserve Magazine, 2001, page 62
  16. ^ Boyne, Walter J. "They Wanted Wings". Air Force Magazine, February 2009.
  17. ^ Amaani Lyle, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, Top Guns receive awards at Tuskegee Airmen Inc. convention, August 7, 2009


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "".

External links[edit]

Media related to Russell C. Davis at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
LTG Edward D. Baca
Chief of the National Guard Bureau
1998 - 2002
Succeeded by
MG Raymond F. Rees (acting)