Lloyd "Don" Davis - Gate Sentinel
Staff Sergeant Lloyd "Don" Davis
Service Branch: United States Army Air Corps
Combat Action: WWII -- Europe
Home Town: Lincoln
Military Specialty: Weather Technician
Unit: 8th Air Force, 18th Weather Squadron
Decorations, Citations, and Awards: - European Theater Campaign Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal
Don Davis graduated from the University of Nebraska, Class of ’43. Unfortunately, Don missed both Commencement and the birth of his first child, his son, Gary. Don was with the 18th Weather Squadron, 3,000 miles away, charting pilot-observed weather. Gary would celebrate his 2nd Birthday before he and his Dad would meet.
Before they could invade Europe, the Allies had to achieve air superiority. General Eisenhower’s plan was bold but costly: bomb cities deep inside Germany. When the Luftwaffe came for his bombers, Allied fighters would be waiting in ambush. The plan needed a lot of bombers, superior fighter planes, and reliable weather forecasts.
That’s where SSgt. Don Davis came in. WWII air combat required visual contact with surroundings. The second-greatest threat to combat aircraft was adverse weather. Electronic navigation aids were unknown, as were tactical assets like AWACS or GPS. A storm raging across the North Atlantic one week would, most likely, be sweeping through central Europe the next, and the best weather observations were PIREPs or PIlot REPorts from bombers flying to England across the Atlantic. Upon landing, the bomber crews were debriefed by SSgt. Davis and other Weather Techs for charting of weather observed during their Transatlantic flights. The charts were forwarded to 8th Air Force Meteorologists and Mission Planners. Don enjoyed meeting with the many crews that had trained at Lincoln Army Airfield and hearing the warm praise they gave to his home town.
In deploying combat forces, every job is important. The Allies needed bomber crews and fighter pilots to do their jobs, and they needed SSgt. Davis to do his job. On D-Day, everyone’s diligence paid off. The Allies sortied 14,000 combat aircraft. The Luftwaffe responded with 1,400. – outnumbered 10 : 1.
Gen. Eisenhower would have considered SSgt. Davis’ contribution to victory no less instrumental than his own.
Well done, Don. Well done, indeed.