Glenn Benson Davis, Sr.
Vice Admiral, United States Navy
Benson Davis, Sr., 92, a retired United States Navy Vice Admiral who was
a highly decorated combat veteran of WWII, died of a heart attack September
9, 1984 at Hilton Head Hospital on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
He had lived in Wash, DC, until moving in July to a retirement community
in Hilton Head.
His World War II medals included 2 Legions of Merit and the Navy Cross, that service's highest award for valor after the Medal of Honor.
When the US entered WWII, Admiral Davis was Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. In July 1942, he took command of the new battleship Washington and sailed her in harm's way at Guadalcanal. The Washington was flagship of Task Force 64 and leading a supply operation when it became engaged in the bitter fight off Savo Island on the night of November 14-15, 1942.
For his actions in the battle, Admiral Davis was awarded the Navy Cross. The award's citation reads in part: "Boldly fighting against numerically superior forces, he skillfully maneuvered his ship unscathed through perilous waters despite the hazards of enemy gunfire and repeated hostile torpedo attacks. His superior leadership in the face of grave danger inspired his men to direct rapid and accurate gunfire against the Japanese ships, thereby sinking one hostile vessel outright and contributing materially to the destruction of other enemy ships."
In April 1943, he was named commander of Battleship Division 8. He was awarded two Legion of Merit medals for leading the division against the enemy at Truk, and during carrier raids on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, and in other legendary battles of the Pacific war. He returned to the mainland in March 1945.
His postwar assignments included tours as superintendent of the USN Gun Factory in Washington, DC, and commandant of the Potomac River USN Command. His last assignment was as commandant of the 6th USN District in Charleston, South Carolina. He ret from active duty in 1953 and advanced to the rank of Vice Admiral on the basis of his combat awards. After that, he became an executive in the shipping industry, including president of the Isthmian Steamship Co and board chairman of Isthmian Lines Inc, before retiring a second time in 1958.
Admiral Davis was born in Norwalk, Ohio. In 1913, he graduated 9th in a class of 140 from the United States Naval Academy.
He served in the Atlantic during WWI. Between the Wars, he studied ordnance engineering at the USN Postgraduate School at Annapolis and chemical warfare at Edgewood Arsenal. He also commanded a destroyer and was executive officer of the light cruiser Philadelphia.
His first wife, Ruth Manahan, died in 1955. His second wife, Marguerite Evans Willis Davis, died August 1. Survivors include a son, Glenn B. Jr., of Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island; a stepson, Stanley Willis of Wash, DC; a brother, Donald, of Des Plaines, IL.; 3 grand-children, and 8 great-grandchildren. 1892-1984. He was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery.
Updated: 23 November 2001 Updated: 31 May 2003 Updated: 20 November 2005 Updated: 20 August 2006