Retired Army Maj. Gen. Franklin M. Davis Jr., 62, a decorated veteran of World War II and Vietnam and a former commandant of the Army War College, died of cancer Monday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Gen. Davis, who had maintained a home in Arlington since the early 1960s, served with armored forces in Europe during World War II. He was an operations officer in an armored regiment and later commanded a tank-infantry force. He won the Bronze Star Medal.
His service in Vietnam began in August 1967. A few weeks later, his elder son, 1st Lt. Stephen W. Davis, a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in action. Gen. Davis accompanied the body home and then returned to Vietnam. He took command of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and in August 1968 was wounded in action. He remained with his command for a week and then was evacuated to the United States for surgery. He received the Purple Heart Medal and four decorations from the Republic of Vietnam.
Gen. Davis spent the next three years as director of military personnel policies in the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel in the Pentagon. In 1971, he was named commandant of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. He retired from the service in 1974.
The general returned to Arlington and became administrator for the Washington law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. He retired from that position in 1979.
Gen. Davis was born in Malden, Mass., and grew up in Waltham, Mass. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1940 and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army through the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
His assignments between World War II and Vietnam included various military posts in the United States, occupation and NATO duty in Germany, and Cambodia, where he was a member of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group. He was on the personal staffs of Gen. Earle G. Wheeler and Gen. Harold K. Johnson when they served as Army chiefs of staff.
Apart from his military career, Gen. Davis was the author of several paperback novels in what he called "the spy-intrigue genre." He also wrote a history of the Army of Occupation in Germany, 1945 to 1949, which was published by the Macmillan Company in 1967.
In addition to the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, Gen. Davis' military decorations included two Distinguished Service Medals, two Legions of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He was a member of the Association of the U.S. Army, the Association of Legal Administrators, the Army & Navy Club, the Army Navy Country Club and the Ends of the Earth Society.
Survivors include his wife, the former Erma Stuart Alvord of Arlington; one son, Nathaniel, of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; one brother, Alan C. Davis of Concord, Mass.; one sister, Mrs. Richard T. Landsdowne of Westboro, Mass., and three grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.