Topics - F-86 Sabre Crash
February 10, 1952
Korea

 
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On February 10, 1952, Korean War ace fighter pilot George Andrew "Curly" Davis Jr. lost his life in the crash of his F-86 Sabre (tail number 51-2752).  During an air fight with Chinese MiGs near the Yalu River, his F86 Sabre took a direct hit in the fuselage, causing his aircraft to spin out of control and crash into a mountain 30 miles south of the Yalu.  His body was recovered by the Chinese, but was not returned to the United States.

George Andrew "Curly" Davis Jr.

 
George Davis Jr. was born on December 01, 1920 in Dublin, Texas, the seventh child of George Davis Sr. and Pearl Love Davis.  In his childhood, Davis briefly lived in Maple, Texas.  He attended Morton High School in Morton, Texas. Davis then attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas. After completing a degree, he returned to Texas. He took up farming for a time with his family before eventually deciding to join the military.

Davis joined the United States Army Air Corps in early 1942. He was sent to the Pacific Theatre after pilot training and flew in the New Guinea and Philippine campaigns, scoring seven victories over Japanese aircraft. After the end of the war, Davis served in a number of administrative positions in the United States. On August 10, 1945, he was assigned to the 556th Air Base Unit at Long Beach, California. On August 24, 1946, he was offered a commission as a first lieutenant in the active duty Army Air Corps, demoting him from his temporary rank but effectively allowing him to stay in the military in spite of the demobilization and downsizing of the US military. Several weeks later on September 7, Davis was ordered to the 554th Air Base Unit in Memphis, Tennessee, where he served on one of the Army Air Corps aerobatic demonstration teams, the predecessors to the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

Davis returned to front line units on January 6, 1947, when he was moved to the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1st Fighter Group. He remained with this formation for most of the year. On September 18, 1947, the United States Air Force was created as a separate branch from the US Army. Davis was commissioned as a captain in the new branch. During his time with the 71st Squadron, Davis attended Air Tactical School and Tyndall Air Force Base. He was also a flight commander and air inspector while with the unit.[Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, Davis continued to serve in the 71st Squadron and did not see combat in the initial phase of the war. As it progressed, however, Davis began training on the F-86 Sabre (Sabrejet), the latest jet engine-powered fighter. On February 15, 1951, he was promoted to major and in October 1951 he was assigned to the headquarters of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, which was based in Japan and operating aircraft throughout Korea. As such, Davis was sent to the conflict as a fighter pilot.

During his World War II/Korean War career, Davis participated in 59 combat missions.  He was credited with 14 confirmed victories in Korea, one probable victory and two enemy aircrafts damaged.  His total career victories was 21.  He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  Besides the Medal of Honor, his military honors included the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Purple Heart, and the Air Medal.  There is a memorial in his honor in Lubbock, Texas City Cemetery.

George and his wife, the former Doris Lynn Forgason, had three children: Mary Margaret (now Patton), George Davis III (1950-2006), and Charles Lynn.  Doris was pregnant with Charles at the time of her husband's death.
 

 
 

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