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Lt. B. Davis O-365318

Discussion in 'Combat Cargo, Troop Trans., Ferry, & Gliders' started by Cololab, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Cololab

    Cololab Member

    I have another research project; and another request for assistance from forum members. I am looking for anything I can find on a Lieutenant B. Davis, O-365318, who apparently was a glider pilot. This name and number and the date "11-2-42" are inscribed on the back of the glider pilot wings as can be seen in the attached photo.


    Attached Files:

  2. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  3. Cololab

    Cololab Member

    Well, that's a bit disconcerting to see this discrepancy. I wonder if there is a transposition somewhere. I would presume this man knew his "O" number unless someone has faked this inscription.

    I don't know if the date was intended to be February 11, 1942 or November 2, 1942. Either way, was there glider pilot training going on at that time?
  4. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Found this: http://www.ww2gp.org/images/training/GPProgramDesicions.jpg

    One thing it seems to suggest is that at the start glider pilots were Staff Sargents, then late in 1942 the rank of Flight Officer was approved.
    So being a Lt in the program in 1942 might also seem odd.

    On this link: http://www.ww2gp.org/gliderProgram.php
    he mentions that there were a few commissioned pilots (but the way I read it, they were Lts before being trained as glider pilots), so they were probably Lts but not trained pilots before starting glider training.

    Off topic... but it has come up before, it appears on Feb 4, 1943 Glider pilots were allowed to fly Liason A/C under 180 HP.

    The above link came off this page, which has some other linked pages of possible interest:

    In particular there are two different flow charts for training in 1942.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
    Airwar likes this.
  5. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

  6. Cololab

    Cololab Member

    I guess it might help to know if there were glider classes that graduated a pilot named Davis on either February 11, 1942 or maybe more likely November 2, 1942. It still seems like the "O" number would be the key bit of information here as the initial "B" could be a middle name, nickname, etc.
  7. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

  8. Cololab

    Cololab Member

    Well, that seems pretty solid confirmation that he is the rightful owner of the O number at issue. Thanks for that bit of information.
  9. gliderhistorian

    gliderhistorian New Member

    The glider wings may indeed belong to one Lt. B. Davis. Glider wings were first issued in June 1942 while the Flight Officer Act was passed by Congress on July 8, 1942. So November 1942 would fit as a date in which Lt. Davis received his glider wings. The serial number, "O-365318" reflects the rank of an officer "O" glider pilot while the established rank of a Flight Officer had a "T" preceding their serial number. A little internet search reveals that the first "3" indicates that Davis was from Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Virginia. Nice article on the flying Staff Sergeant rank and Flight Officer rank can be found here: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a145317.pdf

    The newspaper article which has been cited does not necessarily mean that the serial number in question belonged to the soldier in the article. Remember, the axis also gleaned information on the war through US newspapers and other media so these articles were not always accurate or reliable - think "disinformation" and "propaganda."

    Not all glider pilots saw war. Many, such as the Lt., may have been a glider pilot instructor once he received his wings, and remained in the states. As a pool of excess glider pilots built up, those in excess of what were needed (which was eventually determined to be 6,000 US glider pilots) were placed into other duties. So the Lt. in question could have gotten his glider pilot wings and then at some point been reassigned to another duty/occupation.

    So don't throw the baby out with the bath water just yet. You could do a little more research and submit a military records request using the info you have. https://www.archives.gov/veterans
  10. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Gliderhistorian, I don't think your idea about the newspaper article using a "fake" ASN is correct, as that same serial number also shows on the link I gave previously for commissioned officers for Theodore H Andrews here:

    However, just to see what else I could find, I looked up "nearby" serial numbers. I found O-365320 belongs
    to Woodrow M Bell as can be seen on this page. http://www.usofficerdocuments.com/armyair/reg_resb3.html

    Now there is an interesting Texas newspaper article on then Captain Bell, formerly of the infantry who was now training as a bomber pilot in 1942. It mentions that Bell (a college football star) had been commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the Reserves when he graduated from Texas A & M in 1938. So I looked up the Texas A & M class of 1938. Graduating in that same class was Theodore H Andrews from Caldwell, Texas.

    Looking at the original wings pin, it looks like the final 8 is carved in an odd way- was it originally a 7 or a 5? So just for fun I searched on both those serial numbers. O-365317 belongs to an infantry officer Dan Wood Amsler. He was also in the 1938 A & M class. No luck on finding O-365315.

    There was no "B Davis" in the class. There was "Doyle T Davis" and a Paul Davis.

    It seems to me the "LT" on the pin is carved with a wider "stylus". Maybe even the "11" is also wider?
    That may seem more evident on the original pin than in the photograph?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  11. gliderhistorian

    gliderhistorian New Member

    Hmmm. Ok, I am onboard with the ASN belonging to T. H. Andrews based on your findings that match the newspaper account listing the ASN. But, I still stand by my statement that newspapers did indeed alter stories so as to confuse our enemies and/or keep US moral up.

    Looking at the inscription better, the "B" could be a "3," but looking at the number "3" in the serial number, the top of the "3" has a tighter loop to it so I think it is a "B"? But to throw another angle to this, the comma (?) following the initial "B" looks to be a "1" just below and right of the "3" and above the "6." Thinking way out of the box, might this possibly be read as "316" indicating 316th Troop Carrier Group or the 316th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 436th Troop Carrier Group? Again, way out of the box thinking.

    Looked through the National WWII Glider Pilots Assn. for those GP's having the last name Davis. Of course this is not a complete list of all WWII GP's, but does have many. The closest Davis I could find having the letter "B" in the name was a Harry B. Davis. Harry B. Davis does show up as being a 1943 Glider Instructor, 2nd Lt, at South Plains Army Air Field (SPAAF), Lubbock. His home town is listed as Kansas City, MO. No ASN listed.

    I also found a Robert P. Davis (thinking he may have been called "Bob" by friends), glider pilot student, SPAAF but this would have been too late as this student was entered into GP training in March 1943, so it does not fit. Nothing else I have shows a B. Davis or ASN O-365318.

    That said, the ASN seems not to fit the GP in question. Not enough info to identify the owner by name without a complete first name. We don't know if the date 11-2-42 is a starting date or graduating date, or a date in which the owner was commissioned an officer. The inscription could be valid or placed there in hopes of increased value when the item was perhaps put up for sale. Looks to be a needle in a haystack.
  12. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    give it a try

    Attached Files:

  13. gliderhistorian

    gliderhistorian New Member

    No listing for Edward R. Davis in the NWWIIGP roster. The article does not cite where he trained, but it would have most likely been in the smaller single/two-place training gliders (he mentioned going to 12,500 ft) as the first CG-4A glider did not arrive at Lockbourne Army Air Field until Sept. 1, 1942, and then the first pilots to fly them were to be trained as instructors and the first group trained would have been ready mid-to-late September.

    Interesting that it states he was going to Morrison Field for air-to-surface-vessels radio training. Looking up Morrison Field, one of its uses was in anti-submarine warfare and then you have nearby Boca Raton airfield where AAF radar training took place. There was a back up of glider pilots due to the shortage of the CG-4A's. So GP were sent to "pools" to await their advanced training done at the various fields. Some of these men were sent to other facilities for training and is most likely what happened with Edward Davis. Just a guess, but he may have then been transferred to another occupation/MOS based on his other skills and pilot rating through the CAA and never got to advanced glider training.

    In the USAF Historical Studies No.1, "The Glider Pilot Training Program 1941 to 1943," ( http://www.afhra.af.mil/Information/Studies/Numbered-USAF-Historical-Studies/ ) it states that upon graduation, the glider pilot was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. On Nov. 21, 1942, this was changed and all graduates were to be Flight Officers (which was a temporary appointment created by Congress for the duration of the war). Commissioned officers in grade would continue training at that grade until graduation and those aviation cadets who had voluntarily relinquished pilot training to enter the glider program would be made 2nd Lt upon graduation. Future promotions from the grade of Flight Officer would be based on the T/O of the organization that the GP was assigned to.
  14. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  15. gliderhistorian

    gliderhistorian New Member

    Wow, a lot of good and interesting things. My focus with newspaper articles revolves around the glider mechanics as well as many other glider related stories as you have collected. The 9th AF had their own public relations personnel who would write up what were called "Home Town" stories and send them to the corresponding soldiers home town or newspaper that served his home town readers.

    Many men with the common name Davis, but appears that Robert P. Davis made his mark on D-Day. Edward R. Davis is seen in one of the converted light planes turned 3-place glider, TG-5, TG-6, or TG-8. These were, as I am sure you know, used in glider training along with the TG-1, TG-2/3, TG-4, and those civilian gliders impressed into the early glider flight program. The TG-1, TG-2/3, and TG-4 were militarized sailplanes and many GP's stated that the TG-5,TG-6, and TG-8 (as well as the dead-stick flying experience that some GP's received) likened the flying characteristics to flying the CG-4A better then the sailplane group. There is a difference between a "sailplane" and a "glider." The sailplane is designed to stay aloft and ride the thermals. The glider is not designed to stay aloft (but of course it can and has been proven) but to return to ground in a controlled descent.

    The 74th TCS book is interesting. I have several of these in my collection as they have a good wealth of information. Some are very hard to find/get and can cost an arm & a leg above my resources. Interesting was the pics of the "Fighting Falcon." Those pics are commonly seen and I too have them. However, in my research knowing many glider mechanics who assembled the gliders at Crookham Commons, I have a less formal picture of the glider mechanics setting in front of the glider (Fighting Falcon logo behind them), and it is one of my favorites. Again, I am sure you know the story behind the glider as it has been written of in many articles.

    I do have the GP book with all the GP experiences - a wealth of knowledge in it and glad it was published. I have a library of materials that rivals any archives that includes a big collection of 16mm film (both B&W and color) and many of the training filmstrips used in the classroom work given GP's.

    Always enjoy reading the After Action Reports. Each mission had these and it is interesting to hear each GP's point of view and perspective on their experience. Some are short and matter-of-fact while others are very detailed and provide a real sense of the the intensity of the experience based on where & when the glider landed.

    In the book Glider to Glory (the 325th GIR battle experiences as told by those men who were there - unedited) written and privately published by Jerry Richlak (whom I used to correspond to regularly before his passing) are pictures taken by GP Martin Litton. I spoke to Mr. Litton about the pics and he told me that he worked for a newspaper prior to going to war. He carried his camera into Holland on his flight and was taking pictures right after he landed while German bullets were zipping about. He was standing up walking around while the troops kept telling him to get down or he would be shot. He told me he was not too concerned because he felt that if he was meant to be shot/killed that it was just going to happen. There is also a picture taken of him with his damaged glider which he identified for me and can be seen in some publications.
  16. Cololab

    Cololab Member

    I certainly appreciate all of the additional information presented on this topic. I had prerty much let
    this matter go as not being worthy of my admittedly poor research skills; particularly when it seemed the wings had been "enhanced" for some purpose.

    FWIW, I am trying to recall where I acquired these wings many years ago (I think it was from some flea market or junk shop), but I know I didn't pay much for them. Of course, that still does not in any way validate the inscription.
  17. pathfinder504

    pathfinder504 Active Member

    Not to muddy the waters, but I have always believed that O numbers could be written O-xxxxx and then again Oxxxxx with the x's being the same sequence of numbers and designate two different people. Correct me if I am wrong.
  18. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I believe that is incorrect. I think the intent was always to have "O-" but sometimes the "-" was dropped. As an example consider Frank E Boresch. He shows up here in an "unofficial" list with serial number O-2063343. http://wwiiflighttraining.org/?page_id=791

    He is still listed MIA on the "official" dpaa website here (for missing AAF members) , with serial number listed as O-2063343.


    On the "official" final casualty list for Queens New Y0rk here:

    he is listed as O2063343.

    On the abmc website he is also listed as O2063343:


    The final casualty lists had 8 "spaces" for serial numbers, and they would drop the "-" when an officer had 7 digits in his serial number which followed the "O-". This was done in Boresch's case, so his "9" position serial number would fit in 8 spaces.

    Just to note how inconsistent these lists are, Edgar R Abbott from Jackson County, MO,
    is listed as O1298300 on the casualty list:


    but as O-1298300 on the abmc website:

    Typed lists and reports can also vary. I think some of the confusion came from whoever was typing the lists. Some MACRs list all officers as Oxxx's others as O-xxxx's. Other points of confusion were created by the typewriters then in use. Some typewriters did not have "zero" and some did not have "one", so letters were substituted (Lower case "L" for 1, and capital "O" for zero).

    As an ultimate test, refer back to the AAF missing list:

    Do a search on the list for O0, then O1, O2, etc. i.e. try to find a serial number that starts with Ox ("O" the letter O, and x a number, 0 to 9). I can't find any.

    Then search for O-0, O-1, O-2, etc. I can find some in each category, all officers.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
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  19. pathfinder504

    pathfinder504 Active Member

    Never too old to learn!! Thanks!

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