Barrie Davis

Barrie Davis was born the son of a Baptist preacher in a small North Carolina town in 1923. As a 17-year-old sophomore at Wake Forest, he learned that his older brother, a career Army officer, was killed in the Philippines fighting the Japanese. Davis finished the semester and dropped out of college to enlist in the Army Air Corps.

He began training as an Aviation Cadet in January 1943, flying in the PT-13 Stearman, the BT-13 Valiant and the AT-6 Texan. At 19, he was commissioned and received his wings in Dothan, Alabama in August 1943.

After completing fighter training at Ft. Myers, Florida in the P-47 Thunderbolt, he crossed the Atlantic and headed to war. He flew his first missions with the Mediterranean Air Transport, ferrying fighters from Africa to Italy. This give Davis broad experience with aircraft such as the P-39, P-47 and the B-25.

In May 1944, he was ordered to join the 325th Fighter Group — the Checkertails — where he was delighted to see the familiar Thunderbolts on the flight line. After seven missions, the 325th was equipped with P-51 Mustangs, which they flew out of the Soviet Union on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Davis ended his tour as a flight leader, credited with six air victories and six aircraft and 12 locomotives destroyed on the ground. After 70 missions, his decorations include the Silver Star, the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.

Returning to the US, Davis flew the armor-plated RP-63 Kingcobra as a target for gunnery students in Nevada. He remained in the Air Corps Reserve until 1949, when he joined the North Carolina Army National Guard, an assignment that started as a one-year engagement that he would keep for 27 years.

During his guard service, he became an Army Aviator, completing helicopter training in Ft. Rucker, Alabama. He also commanded an artillery battery, an aviation company, an aviation battalion, a division of artillery and a support group. He finished his army Guard career as Commandant of the North Carolina Military Academy with the rank of Colonel.

In civilian life, Davis was a newspaper and magazine editor and operated a commercial printing business for over 50 years.