Michael Shannon Davison
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1939
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945)• Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
Michael Shannon Davison
Michael Shannon Davison was born on 21 March 1917 in San Francisco, CA, into a military family. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1939 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Cavalry. His first posting was at Fort Brown, TX, with the 12th Cavalry Regiment.
During World War II, Davison was assigned to Operations Division, War Department General Staff Theater Group, and later reassigned to the 45th Infantry Division in North Africa as Assistant G-2. He remained with the 45th Division in Sicily and Italy, to include taking part in the Anzio invasion. At the age of 26, he was chosen to command the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment. Four months later he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and he remained commander of the battalion throughout the Italian campaign and the invasion of southern France. During his time with the division he was wounded twice. Towards the end of the war he served as G-2 and G-3 (Operations) at Headquarters, VI Corps.
After the war, then-Colonel Davison was assigned to the Plans Section, Headquarters Army Ground Forces at Fort Monroe, and later took command of the 18th Mechanized Cavalry Squadron stationed in Puerto Rico. He received a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1951, and following a stint in the Office, Chief of Legislative Liaison, he was assigned to his alma mater as Commander, First Regiment, U.S. Corps of Cadets in 1954.
He graduated from the National War College in 1958, and subsequently served as Chief, Combat Materiel Division, Office, Chief of Research and Development until 1960. He was then chosen to command Combat Command A, 3rd Armored Division, and was later promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as Chief of Staff, V Corps. He once again returned to West Point to become the 51st Commandant of Cadets in 1963.
His next assignment was as Commandant of the Command and General Staff College. Following that tour, in 1968 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Pacific, and subsequently as Chief of Staff for Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command. In 1970, he assumed command of II Field Force, Vietnam, and was responsible for conducting the Cambodian Campaign.
In May 1971, he was promoted to General and assigned as Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Europe/Commander, Central Army Group (CINCUSAREUR/COMCENTAG). During his tenure he placed emphasis on race relations and equal opportunity. Because of these efforts, he was awarded the NAACP Meritorious Service Award in 1976. The citation reads:
"In recognition of his leadership, courage, and dedication to the principles of human relations, equality of opportunity and justice, which has been the hallmark of his numerous commands in the Army of the United States."
Davison retired from the Army in 1975.
After retiring from the Army, Davison held various positions in the civilian sector, to include President of the United Service Organizations; Vice President of Joseph R. Loring Associates, an architectural engineering firm; a board member of Mercedes-Benz of North America; Vice Chairman of the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association; President of Shannon Enterprises; member of the Advisory Board of the International Security Council; and Board of Trustees of the Association of Graduates, U.S. Military Academy, and later its president from 1983 to 1989.
Davison was also responsible for ending the bitter in-fighting over what would constitute the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was Davison in January 1982 who suggested the inclusion of a statue, The Three Soldiers, as compromise between parties arguing over whether the memorial would be Maya Lin's black granite wall or a more traditional heroic memorial. Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said "He was a think-out-of-the-box kind of guy. He was also very smart. He waited until the end of the day, when everybody was very tired, before he made his suggestion."
Medals and Awards
Army Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
• He received an honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Maryland.
• He was made an honorary citizen of Meximieux, France.
• 1997 recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy.
Death and Burial
Michael Shannon Davison died on 7 September 2006. He is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, Orange County, NY, in Section VII, Row C, Grave 159.
He was survived by his second wife, Helen Walker Davison, three children, one of whom is retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Shannon Davison, Jr., 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Jean Miller Davison, who died in 1983, and a daughter who died in 1957.
|Honoree ID: 215||Created by: MHOH|