Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to 1st Lt. William F. Davenport at 446th Bomb Group Museum, Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton, Suffolk.
DFC/ AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster.
By the time he was twenty years of age Bill Davenport had eleven flying hours in a Piper 'Yellow Peril' and, presumably, a licence. Working the night shift as an inspector in the Allison Aircraft Engine plant he was officially deferred from active service but saw a newspaper item that the Army Air Corps would be recruiting glider pilots. He drove to Lafayette and - in September 1942 - signed up with the US Army Enlisted Reserve. Sent to Bloomington Indiana he joined seven other trainee glider pilots in the Civilian Pilot Training Program. They spent the next eight weeks hurtling around in a Cub trainer, the instructor himself a twenty-year old. Ground school was taught by a university professor 'who managed to stay a page ahead most of the time'. After this they were sent home to wait 'for weeks' suspected of being deserters or 4F, until the orders came for further processing in February 1943. With his buddy Chuck Jackson he entrained for New Orleans where they managed to get in a day's sightseeing before going on to the base at Hondo. Still no action; they were informed that there was a glut of glider pilots, they could opt for honorable discharge or get priority for another assignment. He and Chuck opted for the Aviation Cadet programme with the Navigator option. That too was oversubscribed so Bill volunteered to become Mess Officer because the job came with a private room. People came and went and he was left in an empty building. Since he later appeared at the 446th BG reunions he presumably did finally make it into action.
Units served with
The 446th Bomb Group, who came to be known as "the Bungay Buckaroos" after the name of their Suffolk base, flew B-24 Liberators on strategic, support and interdictory missions over Europe. The Group led the Eighth Air Force and 2nd Bomb Division on the...
||6 October 1922