African-American Heroes
92nd Infantry Division
Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr.

Entered Service: July 13, 1898


Benjamin O. Davis entered the service during the War with Spain as a temporary first lieutenant of the 8th U.S. Volunteer Infantry. In 1899, he was discharged from the service. In June of the same year, he again enlisted, this time as a private in the 9th Cavalry. He then served as corporal and squadron sergeant major, and on February 2, 1901, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry. In 1940, he became the first African-American General Officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, earning the rank of brigadier general. General Davis served as an inspector for the Inspector General and later as a special investigator for the Secretary of War's Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies. His investigations of discrimination and racial disturbances brought to light the problems of a racially closed military.