Glenn B. Davis Sr., 92, a retired Navy vice admiral who was a highly decorated combat veteran of World War II, died of a heart attack Sept. 9 at Hilton Head Hospital on Hilton Head Island, S.C. He had lived in Washington until moving in July to a retirement community in Hilton Head.
His World War II medals included two Legions of Merit and the Navy Cross, that service's highest award for valor after the Medal of Honor.
When the United States entered World War II, Adm. Davis was assistant chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. In July 1942, he took command of the new battleship Washington and sailed her in harm's way at Guadalcanal. The Washington was flagship of Task Force 64 and leading a supply operation when it became engaged in the bitter fight off Savo Island on the night of Nov. 14-15, 1942. For his actions in the battle, Adm. Davis was awarded the Navy Cross. The award's citation reads in part:
"Boldly fighting against numerically superior forces, he skillfully maneuvered his ship unscathed through perilous waters despite the hazards of enemy gunfire and repeated hostile torpedo attacks. His superior leadership in the face of grave danger inspired his men to direct rapid and accurate gunfire against the Japanese ships, thereby sinking one hostile vessel outright and contributing materially to the destruction of other enemy ships."
In April 1943, he was named commander of Battleship Division Eight. He was awarded two Legion of Merit medals for leading the division against the enemy at Truk, and during carrier raids on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, and in other legendary battles of the Pacific war.
He returned to the mainland in March 1945. His postwar assigments included tours as superintendent of the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, and commandant of the Potomac River Naval Command. His last assignment was as commandant of the Sixth Naval District in Charleston, S.C. He retired from active duty in 1953 and advanced to the rank of vice admiral on the basis of his combat awards.
After that, he became an executive in the shipping industry, including president of the Isthmian Steamship Co. and board chairman of Isthmian Lines Inc., before retiring a second time in 1958.
Adm. Davis was born in Norwalk, Ohio. In 1913, he graduated ninth in a class of 140 from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He served in the Atlantic during World War I. Between the World Wars, he studied ordnance engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School at Annapolis and chemical warfare at Edgewood Arsenal. He also commanded a destroyer and was executive officer of the light cruiser Philadelphia.
His first wife, Ruth Manahan, died in 1955. His second wife, Marguerite Evans Willis Davis, died Aug. 1.
Survivors include a son, Glenn B. Jr., of Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island; a stepson, Stanley Willis of Washington; a brother, Donald, of Des Plaines, Ill.; three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.