Michael Shannon Davison
1917-2006

 

Michael Davison graduated from West Point in 1939 and was commissioned in the Cavalry. His first tour of duty took him to Fort Brown in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, with the 12th Cavalry Regiment. Within two years of graduation he commanded Troop A of the 12th Cavalry and a year later, as a captain, he was appointed Executive Officer and later Commander of the 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry, assignments that were to prepare him well for the larger crucible of the European war.

His World War II experiences was with the 45th Infantry Division in Sicily and other areas of Italy, where he took part in three amphibious landings amid some of the most intense fighting of the war. At Anzio, Davison, then a major, was given command of the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment.

In 1963, Davison became the 51st Commandant of Cadets at West Point.

In Vietnam Gen. Davison served  as the commander of II Field Force which included planning  and undertaking the 1970 invasion of Cambodia.

In May 1971, he was promoted to General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Europe and he retired from the Army in 1975.

Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said it was Gen. Davison who rescued the Vietnam Veterans Memorial when bitter controversy over the design threatened to doom the project.

Scruggs recalled how, in January 1982, the retired general sat silently through an emotional four-hour meeting and then, at the opportune moment, offered a compromise.

"We have an unconventional memorial," he told the group. "Let us add a traditional element to symbolize the American fighting spirit."

His proposal, pairing Maya Lin's V-shaped black granite wall with figures of three soldiers in combat, was met with immediate approval.

"He was a think-out-of-the-box kind of guy," Scruggs said. "He was also very smart. He waited until the end of the day, when everybody was very tired, before he made his suggestion."

Source:    Extracted from several sources including the Washington Post, September 12, 2006

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