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Pilot honored family during Korean War

Col. Joe Davis Jr. at his retirement from the U.S. Air Force with his "Four Queens," (left to right) daughter Scott, wife Ann, and daughters Chris and Jan in 1969. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Joe Davis Jr. at his retirement from the U.S. Air Force with his "Four Queens," (left to right) daughter Scott, wife Ann, and daughters Chris and Jan in 1969. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Joe Davis and his F-84 "Four Queens." (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Joe Davis and his F-84 "Four Queens." (U.S. Air Force photo)

The brightly colored "Four Queens" armed with two 500-lb. bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The brightly colored "Four Queens" armed with two 500-lb. bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2010) -- This F-84 is currently undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Once completed, the aircraft will feature the brightly colored artwork from Col. Joseph Davis Jr.'s aircraft, an F-84G nicknamed "Four Queens," which he flew during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2010) -- This F-84 is currently undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Once completed, the aircraft will feature the brightly colored artwork from Col. Joseph Davis Jr.'s aircraft, an F-84G nicknamed "Four Queens," which he flew during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2010) -- This F-84 is currently undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Once completed, the aircraft will feature the brightly colored artwork from Col. Joseph Davis Jr.'s aircraft, an F-84G nicknamed "Four Queens," which he flew during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (02/2010) -- This F-84 is currently undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Once completed, the aircraft will feature the brightly colored artwork from Col. Joseph Davis Jr.'s aircraft, an F-84G nicknamed "Four Queens," which he flew during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- During the Korean War, Thunderjet wing commander Col. Joseph Davis Jr. displayed exceptional leadership by personally leading many successful missions over North Korea. By war's end, he was the commander of all F-84 units stationed in Korea.

Through the stresses of war, however, Davis could always remember his family. He named his F-84G Four Queens for his wife, Ann, and his three daughters, Scott, Chris and Jan. Davis had four queen playing cards painted on the left side of his aircraft to represent a poker "four-of-kind" hand.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is completely redesigning the Korean War section of the Modern Flight Gallery where Davis' story will be highlighted not only because of an important strike Davis led on July 27, 1953, the last day of the war, but also because of the story behind the artwork on his brightly colored aircraft. The new exhibit area will open in June.

"Col. Davis' story is one that will resonate with many museum visitors," said museum research historian Jeff Duford. "The idea that he honored the four most important people in his life with nose art on his plane is a theme carried over from many airmen during World War II. It was a constant reminder of who they were fighting for."

Davis was a successful pilot during World War II and Korea. Later in his career he came up with the revolutionary concept of the laser-guided bomb and retired in 1969 with over 10,000 hours of military flight time and many decorations and awards.

"The timeless story of an airman remembering a family member in some way - through nose art, good luck charms, pictures or other items - is displayed throughout all galleries in the museum," Duford said. "Davis is just one example of how vital family members are in support of troops during war and peace."

The F-84 is currently undergoing restoration in the Restoration Hangar and visitors may see it during a Behind the Scenes tour. More information on how to sign up for a tour is available at http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/visit/tours.asp.

Further information about Davis and his F-84G will be available on the museum's Web site when the exhibit opens this summer. For information about Korean War commemoration activities, visit http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/korea.asp.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.


NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Olaciregui at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1376.

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