Friday, August 24, 2012

TFH 8/24: Rear Admiral Arthur Cayley Davis, USN

Arthur Cayley Davis was born on March 14, 1893 in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended the University of Nebraska for two years between 1909-11 before being accepted into the United States Naval Academy. After graduating with the class of 1915, he received his commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy.

Eight years later, Davis received his "wings of gold" as a Naval Aviator. At the beginning of World War II, he served on Admiral Nimitz's staff until he was posted to take command of the USS Yorktown (CV-5), but the carrier was sunk at the Battle of Midway before he did so. Instead, he was given command of the USS Enterprise (CV-6) on June 30, 1942.

As the Guadalcanal Campaign began in early August, 1942 Enterprise was dispatched along with two other carriers - USS Saratoga (CV-3) and USS Wasp (CV-7) - to provide air cover for the invasion fleet. The Japanese sent carrier forces of their own, and on August 24-25 they met in the third large carrier vs. carrier engagement of the war: the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Rear Admiral Davis courageously led his ship through the battle, through repeated enemy attacks and severe battle damage, and brought the "Big E" back to fight again another day. He was decorated with the Navy Cross for his valor in command.

Navy Cross Citation from Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Arthur Cayley Davis (NSN: 0-9011), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), in action with enemy Japanese forces near the Solomon Islands, on 24 August 1942. By his remarkable seamanship, resourcefulness and his outstanding skill in maneuvering his ship, Rear Admiral Davis met the vigorous Japanese dive-bombing attack coolly and courageously, holding the damage by bomb hits to the ENTERPRISE to a minimum and, in turn, inflicting heavy casualties on the attacking enemy planes. His intrepid fighting spirit and inspiring devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

After leaving command of Enterprise in October 1942, Davis then served for about two years in the Atlantic Fleet before becoming Chief of Staff to Admiral Raymond Spruance, commander of the Fifth Fleet in the Pacific. This service earned Davis the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, his first of two in his career.

Navy Distinguished Service Medal Citation from Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Rear Admiral Arthur Cayley Davis (NSN: 0-9011), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States, as Chief of Staff to the Commander FIFTH Fleet, from September 1944 to July 1945. Expertly applying his experience and thorough understanding of the tactical employment of aircraft to the planning of FIFTH Fleet operations, Rear Admiral Davis rendered distinguished and invaluable service in coordinating the progress of their execution. His keen knowledge of the strategic aspects of the war against Japan implemented by his complete appreciation of the capabilities of the forces under the command of Commander FIFTH Fleet were essential factors in the successful capture and occupation of Iwo Jima and positions in Okinawa Gunto and in extending control of the sea and air throughout the Western Pacific to the Nansei Shoto and the East China Sea. Forceful and courageous in administrating the duties of this exacting assignment, Rear Admiral Davis made an important contribution to the success of FIFTH Fleet Forces in speeding the ultimate capitulation of the Japanese Empire.

Davis continued serving in the Navy after the war until April 1955. His last post, as a Vice Admiral, was in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, before which he had also served as the director of the Joint Staff. Upon his retirement, he received his promotion to full Admiral as was the practice for World War II veteran flag officers.

Admiral Arthur Cayley Davis passed away at age 71 on February 10, 1965 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

No ship of our Navy has ever been named for Admiral Davis. Don't you think he'd be more deserving than, say, Gabrielle Giffords?

No comments:

Post a Comment


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.