Maurice E. Davis (1945/08/14)
Saving a drowning boy cost Maurice his life.
Maurice E. Davis was born in Missouri on September 19, 1919, to Luther and Hattie Davis. Maurice spent his early years in Missouri where he was educated. Later he moved with his aunt Mrs. C. R. Farrar to Watsonville, where they maintained a residence on High Street. Sometime prior to August 1941, he relocated to Santa Clara County and registered for the draft. At the time of his registration, Davis had completed one year of college and was working in a service station.
Maurice Davis was inducted into the US Army on August 10, 1941, and sent to Camp Roberts for basic training. Following his advanced training at Camp San Luis Obispo, he was accepted into Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In December 1942 he graduated from OCS, was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During this period, he met and married Alma Lee and their son, Robert Edwin, was born.
During his tour at Ft. Leonard Wood, Lt. Davis applied for a transfer and was accepted into the Army Air Corps. He received flight training at Santa Ana, Stockton and King City, California, with specialized training in Chicago, Illinois. In January 1944 he earned his wings and was certified as a multi-engine pilot. Davis was then sent overseas and probably assigned to the 15th Air Force in Bari, Italy.
By March 1945 Maurice Davis had completed thirty bombing missions, been promoted to first lieutenant and had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air medal with three oak leaf clusters and a unit citation for bombing the Ploesti oil fields in Romania. Lt. Davis returned to the United States and assignments at Santa Monica, California, Williams Field, Arizona, and Keesler Field, Mississippi.
It was at Ocean Springs, Mississippi on August 14, 1945, that First Lt. Maurice E. Davis met his death. While fishing on a nearby lake, Maurice saw a small boy in another boat fall into the water and he jumped into the lake to rescue him. After placing the boy in a boat, he attempted to swim to shore but drowned in the process. His body was recovered and returned for burial in Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.
(NARA2; WRP August 16, 1945 1:3, August 21, 1945 1:5; Pajaro Valley Cemetery headstone)