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RG5441.AM:  Thomas Holman Davis, 1921-1999

Papers:  1942-1979

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  U.S. Air Force pilot

Size:  0.7 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


Born July 4, 1921, Thomas H. Davis attended grade school in Fairbury, Nebraska. The Davis family moved to Lincoln, where Thomas graduated from Lincoln High School. He attended the University of Nebraska from 1940-1942. He entered military service on June 29, 1942. Davis served as an Army Air Corps Lieutenant stationed at Eastern Flying Command, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama. He was a flight instructor and a pilot of single, twin, and four engine planes. He married Bette Rathburn in Lincoln, Nebraska, on October 8, 1945.

After the war, Davis worked for Sears Roebuck in Lincoln from 1945-1948. While employed, he was the co-pilot of a Sears plane that carried the company chairman and other officials to Latin America. He then worked for Westinghouse Electrical Supply in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1948-1950, and National Advertising Co. in Waukesha, Wisconsin, from 1950-1951. He left his job when he was recalled to the U.S. Air Force.

Davis served in Korea from 1952-1953. Following the Korean War he moved to Reese Air Force Base in Texas and Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. From 1959-1960 he did Navy exchange duty in Corpus Christi, Texas, and from 1960-1962 served as an advisor to the Brazilian Air Force in Brazil. Lt. Col. Thomas Davis and his wife Bette retired to Florida in 1965. Bette Rathburn Davis died in Pensacola, Florida, on January 20, 1997. Thomas H. Davis died in Pensacola on June 29, 1999.


The collection consists of papers relating to Thomas Davis’ military service. Included are pilot log books and flight records, orders, correspondence, reports, etc. The collection has not been fully processed, but an inventory is available.

Note:  See RG0771 for papers relating to Bette Rathburn Davis and RG1351 for papers relating to Elizibeth Gaylord Rathburn. The Nebraska History Museum also holds a collection of items relating to the Davis, Rathburn and Gaylord families. Not all items are on display. Interested researchers should contact the Museum for more information.


Box 1


  1. Medical history, 1944, 1968

  2. Awards received, 1943-1978

  3. Correspondence to/from Thomas and Bette Davis, 1943-1969

  4. Application for regular commission, 1951

  5. Letters of commendation, 1952-1964

  6. Pilot log books, 1943-1947

  7. Individual flight records, 1943-1960

  8. AFIAS Flight Record Master file, 1959-1966

  9. Aircrew Qualification History, 1962-1965

  10. Application for credit for educational achievement, 1945

  11. Statement of personal history, 1952

  12. USAF Officer Effectiveness Report, 1952-1967

  13. Special orders, 1943-1968

  14. Correspondence regarding relocation to Brazil, 1960

  15. Albrook PMEL team, 1961

  16. Wings authorization request, 1962

  17. Reports written by Capt. Thomas Davis to Colonel Joe E. Earll, 1961-1962

  18. Miscellaneous reports, 1961

  19. Assignment preference statement, 1963

  20. Assignment/appointment letters, 1946-1952

  21. U.S. Army Finance Office, 1946

  22. Other orders, 1942-1958

  23. Retirement order, 1968

  24. Disaster Preparedness, July, 1968

  25. Misc. identification cards

  26. “Ghost Towns of Colorado” by Bette Rathburn

  27. Newspaper clipping, Jan. 16, 1947

  28. Miscellaneous

Box 2


  1. Daily schedule/reminder books, 1961-1970

  2. Daily schedule/reminder books, 1971-1979



Davis, Thomas Holman, 1921-1999

Korean War, 1950-1953

Military service

Pilots — Nebraska

Soldiers — Nebraska

World War, 1939-1945


TMM   02-01-2011

Encoded TMM   02-01-2011