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2nd Lt. Glen M. Davis
723rd Squadron
As a young boy, Glen Davis lived, played and attended church in the friendly community of Dozier. He grew to be strong in his faith and believed in fighting for the betterment of all.
But little did family and friends know at the time the impact he would have on the lives of many in the sleepy Texas Panhandle communities, along with individuals around the world.
Glen was born May 2, 1920 to Mr. and Mrs. Willie M. Davis in Wheeler County.
He joined the Methodist Church at Dozier under the guidance of Reverand John H. Crow along with his sister Mary Lee on July 22, 1928.
He attended Lone Mound School in Collingsworth County. Following, Glen atttended Shamrock schools for five years and graduated.
Glan later attended West Texas State College in Canyon, recieving his B.S. Degree in 1941. During his time in Canyon, Glan worked in the Methodist Church, serving as the president of the board of Junior Stewards. He then traveled to L.A. College, CA, where he worked on his Masters Degree.
In the years to come, Glen made his mark in history, traveling the world fighting for what he believed in.
Glen volunteered for service in the Army Air Forces March 1942. He recieved his training at San Antonio, Uvalde, and San Angelo, CA. Second Lieutenant Glen M Davis was presented his wings in Lubbock. He then took his advanced training in Alamogordo, NM with the 723 Squadron, 450th Bomb Group, known as the Cotton Tails.
Davis flew more than twenty missions as part of the 15th Air Force after flying B 24's over to Italy by way of South America and Africa. They landed in Italy on Christmas day, 1943 and were stationed at Manduria Base, near Foggia, Italy.
On Febuary 23, 1944, 2nd Lt. Glen Davis copilot of the Leaky Tub, 723rd Squadron, along with other crew members, particitpated in an air strike mission against enemy aircraft factories and installations over Steyr, Austria during an offensive mission during the "Big Week".
The "Big Week" consisted of a campaign of US forces working towards the crippling of the German air supremacy. Allied forces dropped bombs on German oil refineries, airplane factories, engine plants, rubber plants etc.
This was the first major air strike and turning point in the war. Many lives were lost during this time, many from Collingsworth County and surrounding areas, but their lives were not lost in vain.
Fifteen planes were assigned to each squadron. Enroute to their target destination, the Leaky Tub was flying on the right wing of the squadron commander, W.A. Miller.
The formation recieved attacks from fifty determined enemy fighter planes. The squadron was traveling without fighter escort. Because of this, they tightened their formation in a pattern of concentrated fire power and continued on directly toward their target where they recieved enemy attacks from all directions.
The Leaky Tub, a Liberator B 24 plane, sustained extensive damage and was seen giong down near Steyre, Austria, with two, possibly three engines on fire. Edward T. Pickard, Jr., 2nd Lt. Air Corps observed one person of the Leaky Tub bailing out. A parachute was seen and the plane was under control before going out of sight.
In an official document 2nd Lt. Pickard, Jr. stated, "In the target area, we encountered heavy fighter attack. Soon afterwards I observed a ship going down in a gentle dive over the town of Steyr. The #2 and possibly #3 engine were on fire. I saw one person bail out."
Charles L Coates, 2nd Lt. Air Corps verified Pickard's statement on the demise of 2nd Lt. Phillip Scanlon's pilot, B 24 air craft, the Leaky Tub.
In a report from the German's dated February 28, 2944, it stated the plane was shot down at approximately 12:10 pm on February 23, 1944 by a German fighter and listed the crash as Bergham, Community Wimsbach, near Lambach. The report also stated that the plane was burned out in the crash and wreckage was 100 percent.
The Davis family of the Dozier community recieved notification from the War Department soon after their son's plane went down. The War Department recieved the information from German records that were then translated to English, 2nd Lt. Davis was first declared MIA but was later declared presumed to be dead.
After Willie M. Davis's brother-in-law, Frank Stockton of Oklahoma City, traveled to Washington and requested and information to the were abouts of their son's place of burial.
Glen Davis was first buried in a German cemetary at Lambach, near Wels, Austria on Februaury 25, 1944. His body was later moved to St. Avold, France, June 17, 1945. From there he was returned to the United States five years later. Glan was laid to rest in 1949 in Shamrock.
Following his death, the Dozier Methodist Church changed its name to the Glen Davis Memorial Church. Memers of the church had expressed their desire to change the name and at the fourth quarterly conference of the Shamrock Circuit the four churches voted in favor of that motion, honoring "its favorite son".
In a letter home Glaen expressed these words about attending church overseas. "When we got to church here, it isn't like it is over there for there is someone here who will never be here again."
Other crew members on the B 24 Leaky Tub were 2nd Lt. Phillip H. Scanlon of Kenmore, NY-pilot; 2nd Lt. George C. Strong, Brighton, MA, navigator; 2nd Lt. Dobald A. Forbes, St. Louis, MI; T/Sgt. Alphonse J. Lanteigne, New Haven, CN; S/Sgt. John H. Grogan, Reidsville, NC; S/Sgt. Kenneth C. King, Syracuse, NY; S/Sgt Sidney Rulnick, Springfield, MA; S/Sgt. William H. Heinegger, Jr., North Linthonioum, MD; S/Sgt. Frank J. Dzurik, Bridgeport, CT; and S/Sgt. Bernard Kellerman, New York, NY.
Sgt. Alphonse John Lantegrigne was the only survivor of the 723rd Leaky Tub. He was a POW and was later released to and English hostpital and was eventually returned to the states.
The Davis family was devastated at the loss of Glen. His sister, Mary Lee Davis Bounds, has never been able to accept the passing of her brother. In cleaning out her house, Mary's son Jom Bounds shared the touching words his mother had written to him, attatched to a box of Glen's. "While I could never deal with Gelen's death, I saved everything hoping that someday, you would be able to go through all information and be able to know Glen and what kind of man he was."

Copyright Wellington Leader 2005   Texas Press Association

Article provided by Karen Hale, Reporter/Photographer, Wellington Leader, Wellington, Texas




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