Vice Admiral Davis, a 1913 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served aboard the U.S.S. KANSAS during the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico (1914). During World War I he served aboard the tanker MAUMEE and subsequently saw duty aboard a variety of battleships, destroyers and cruisers. He was aboard the PHILADELPHIA (1937-1939) at the time of President Franklin Roosevelt's cruise and then was assigned as chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. During World War II he commanded the battleship U.S.S. WASHINGTON in the South Pacific and became commander of Battleship Division Eight.