Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Davis, George F.

Davis, George F.

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Commander, USN, (1911-1945)

George Fleming Davis was born in Manila, Philippine Islands, on 23 March 1911. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from the Naval Reserve in 1930 and graduated in May 1934. Ensign Davis' first duty station was the new heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa. While in that ship he served as an aircraft gunnery observer with her embarked aviation units. In 1939-1941 Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Davis served as an officer of the destroyer Broome and fast minesweeper Hopkins. Following promotion to the rank of Lieutenant in mid-1941 he was assigned to the battleship Oklahoma, which was sunk on 7 December 1941 when Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor opened the Pacific War.


In January 1942 Lieutenant Davis was transferred to the light cruiser Honolulu, in which he participated in operations in the Aleutian Islands, the hard fighting over Guadalcanal and the Central Solomons, and the campaign to recover Guam. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and Commander while serving in Honolulu, which he left in mid-1944. Following training in advanced surface warfare techniques, he was given command of the destroyer Walke in late November 1944. On 6 January 1945 his ship was covering minesweeping operations in advance of the Lingayen Gulf invasion when she was attacked by four Japanese Kamikazes. Though Walke shot down two, the third plane struck the ship, enveloping her bridge area in burning gasoline. Though horribly burned, Commander Davis remained on his feet, conned the ship, directed damage control efforts and saw to the destruction of the fourth suicide plane. Only when Walke's survival was assured did he relinquish his post to be taken below, where he died a short time later. For his heroic conduct, Commander George F. Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.


The destroyer Davis (DD-937), 1957-1994, was named in honor of George F. Davis.


This page features the only view we have of Commander George F. Davis, USN.