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"They said you had to be a little crazy to fly the airplane in the first place." (Video Interview, Part 1, 55:31)

   George Paris Davis, III
Collection image
George Davis piloting his aircraft [1970]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: 66th MI Detachment, 6th Amored Cavalry Regiment; 131st MI Company (AS); D Troop, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation
Service Location: Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Holabird and Fort Meade, Maryland; Washington, DC; Thailand; Da Nang and Hue Phu Bai, Vietnam; Fort Wolters and Fort Hood, Texas; Seoul, Korea; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Fort Rucker, Alabama
Rank: Major
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Flying reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam and Laos in a Mohawk aircraft, George Davis was well aware of the plane's nickname, The Widowmaker. Working at night with no air support or weapons, Davis photographed evidence of enemy troop movements and construction for use on future bombing runs. His expertise served him well in directing recon missions over the DMZ in Korea and at the Pentagon, where he coordinated photo analysis for special forces operations around the world.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (16 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: video(1) | 
Download: video(2) (125 min.)
»Photo Album  (28 photos)
 Official Documents
»Certificate of appreciation for period from 1973 to 1975
 Other Materials
»View List (5 items)
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»Vietnam War: Looking Back, Part 2
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (16 items)
Motivation for enlisting in the Army; decision to enroll in Officer Candidate School; being selected for a commission in intelligence. (04:35) First intelligence duty on anti-war disturbances in Washington, DC. (01:55) Description of the Mohawk aircraft he flew for reconnaissance missions; the dangers of learning to fly helicopters. (03:03)
Difference between flying helicopters and fixed wing airplanes. (01:48) Flying unarmed, but sophisticated equipment to protect the plane; near-crash in training in Arizona. (01:46) His love for the service and how he would serve again, even in the face of the negative public opinion of the war; his parents' concern for his safety in country. (01:55)
Flying into the Plain of Jars in Laos; nature of missions; resiliency of North Vietnamese after bombing. (08:08) Losing his best buddy who flew with him as a "rightseater," or technical observer, killed in a crash when another pilot reacted badly to losing an engine; danger of flying a Mohawk; determination not to be captured. (05:11) Mostly negative role of politics in his missions; effect of Jane Fonda's visit to Vietnam on treatment of POWs; indifferent or hostile reception of Vietnam vets back in the States. (04:31)
Camaraderie among the Mohawk pilots; life at the officers' club in country; reunions in the States. (02:35) Flying missions in which a low-flying helicopter tried to attract fire, with two gun ships trailing behind to return fire on the enemy; he directed the missions from above in a helicopter. (02:00) Scariest moments: under rocket fire at Danang Air Base or Marble Mountain. (03:31)
Typical day for him in country; hosting CBS reporter Ed Bradley; coming home after his tour to no celebration; bitterness over lack of gratitude. (06:32) Post-Vietnam duty; commanding a Mohawk flying recon in Korea along the DMZ; in the Pentagon working on imagery support to special operations units. (03:46) Communicating with his family via tapes; recalling a favorite musical tape, "Tapestry," by Carole King. (01:56)
How his military experience affected his life; getting some help on his flight physical exam from someone who knew how much Davis wanted to fly. (04:44)  
 Other Materials (5 items)
Biographical Information of George Davis III Arm patch for the 131st Avn. Co., Night Hawks Patch worn by pilots of the Mohawk OV-1 reconnaisance plane
Example of Vietnamese money Page from the Company A yearbook with photograph of George P. Davis 

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  October 26, 2011
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