Calvin Clark Davis

Technical Sergeant Calvin Clark Davis UPL 60225 UPL 60225 Technical Sergeant Calvin Clark Davis being interviewed by the BBC for The American Eagle in Britain at the American Red Cross club at Rainbow Corner c. November 1944

From the Davis family collection, courtesy of Dr Shelley Murphy

Object Number - UPL 60225 - Technical Sergeant Calvin Clark Davis being interviewed by the BBC for The American Eagle in Britain at the American Red Cross club at Rainbow Corner...

Davis was of mixed-race heritage, descended from the first African American family to setting in Benzie county, where he was born in 1912.  Davis had light skin, which enabled him to identify as white when he enlisted into the US Army Air Forces in May 1941, he was therefore considered eligible for combat, despite his Black ancestry. 

After training as a waist gunner  Davis was assigned to the 40th Bomb Squadron,  90th Bomb Group, where he complete a 50 combat mission tour in the  Asia/Pacific theatre of operations. Davis being wounded on both his first and last missions.

Davis' length of service made him eligible for a non-operational posting, but his instead chose to do an additional tour in the European theatre of operations. He was assigned to the 570th Bomb Squadron, 390th Bomb Group and completed 12 combat missions

Davis was killed in  B-17 42-97407 'Asterisk' on 30 November 1944 on a mission over Merseberg  during amid air collision with B-17 44-8080

Awards: DFC (2OLC), AM (OLC), PH (OLC), Good Conduct, American campaign , WWII Victory, EAME and AP theatre ribbons. Recommended for SS and MOH.

* - Cologne 15-Oct-44, Cologne 16-Oct-44, Kassel, Hamm, Weisbaden, Langerwehe, Saarbrucken, Geisen, Merseburg [Recalled], Saarbrucken, Mannheim, Merseburg 30-Nov-44.

(The above being all the more remarkable as he was of African/American lineage, seemingly his light skin colour meant he was never asked his race and even fellow squadron/crewmates had no idea of his families origins. At this time in the war, he would not have made aircrew if his background had been known by the authorities.)


See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

The insignia of the 390th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 390th Bomb Group 570th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19117070 / O-768655
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot


B-17 Flying Fortresses (serial number 43-38521), (DI-G, serial number 42-31974), (DI-V, serial number 42-97407) and (serial number 42-102972) of the 390th Bomb Group. Handwritten caption on reverse: '390BG.'
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: - The As-Te-Risk
  • Unit: 1st Strategic Air Depot 390th Bomb Group 95th Bomb Group 412th Bomb Squadron 570th Bomb Squadron


  • Date: 30 November 1944
  • Date: 16 October 1944
The flak damaged nose of a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 398th Bomb Group. Printed caption on reverse: '54600 AC- England- 1st lt Lawrence M De Lancey, Corvallis, Oregon, landed this B-17 safely after its nose was literally shot away by flak over Cologne, Germany. Please Credit: Official US Air Force Photo.' Printed caption on image: 'This B-17 landed safely after losing its nose to flak. US AAF Photo.' Handwritten caption on reverse: '43-38172 of 398th BG.'
  • Date: 15 October 1944



Event Location Date Description


Bear Lake, Manistee County, MI 2 September 1912 Son of Horrace Burr and Hattie Alice (Lee) Davis. Raised along with his brothers Ferman and Floyd by his older sister Bessie Davis, when his mother died in 1919.


Detroit, MI 15 May 1941


Flur Oberkotzau, Germany 30 November 1944 Failed to Return (FTR) Merseburg in B-17 42-97407 'Asterisk' 30-Nov-44; mid air collision with 44-8080. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 11136


Re-Interred Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial Plot D Row 10 Grave 29


Killed in Action (KIA)

Framlingham 30 November 1944 Assigned to 570BS, 390BG, 8AF USAAF.



New Guinea Assigned to 400BS, 90BG, 5AF USAAF.


Next of Kin

Flint, MI [Brother] Alvin J Davis.



Associated media and updated biography based on information researched by Dr Shelley Murphy and published on their blog in 2014

ChangesChanges to biography and mission associations
ChangesChanges to middlename, service number, biography, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
ChangesAAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 11136 / MACR 11136, / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Calvin Clark Davis: Gallery (1 items)