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Nan Tucker McEvoy of San Francisco, California
Charles Parkhurst of Amherst, Massachusetts
David S. Purvis of Weston, Connecticut
Frank K. Ribelin of Dallas, Texas
Wilbur L. Ross of New York, New York
Richard J. Schwartz of New York, New York

PRESENTATION OF THE LANGLEY MEDAL TO BENJAMIN O. DAVIS, JR.

VOTED that the Board of Regents presents to Lt. General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the Samuel Pierpont Langley Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to and advancement of aviation.

* * * * *

Lt. General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. is not a noted figure simply because he is a minority American who achieved a number of significant firsts. True, he was the first black American Air Force General, he did lead the first all-black fighter squadron into combat, he was the first black to command an American Air Force base, and so on. But General Davis' place in history stems as much from his having achieved these goals as it does from the leadership and inspiration to others he demonstrated while en route to these milestones. 

Beginning with the isolation imposed upon him during years as a West Point cadet, General Davis approached each obstacle placed before him as a challenge to excel and surpass expectations rather than as a blocked path. Davis turned the hard-won opportunity to fly in and command the 99th Pursuit Squadron into the first dramatic evidence that blacks could successfully and effectively fly into combat. The sterling record of the 99th and its successor squadrons, the 332 Fighter Group, also commanded by Davis, was a seminal step toward the eventual integration of the armed forces in 1948.

After numerous other milestone military accomplishments, most notably his attainment of the rank of general, Davis held several important civilian posts following his retirement from the Air Force, including that of Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Environment, Safety, and Consumer Affairs in the Department of Transportation. 

Throughout his life, General Davis has faced each of these challenges with quiet persistence and a commitment to excellence and integrity. He has emerged not only a great aviation and military figure, but as an inspiring role model for all Americans. He unquestionably is of a stature equal to any previous recipient of the Langley Medal, and surpasses most. The Medal, which was proposed by Regent Alexander Graham Bell and established by the Board of Regents in 1908, has been awarded twenty times in its history "to encourage aviation."

The following motion is suggested: 

VOTED that the Board of Regents presents to Lt. General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the Samuel Pierpont Langley Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to and advancement of aviation. 
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