This fantastic picture of Avon Dale Babb came to me through one of his descendants. Avon was the son of Andrew Jackson Babb and Grandson of Revolutionary War Hero Christopher Babb of North Carolina.
Andrew has been mentioned on my blog before as his roots were a source of confusion until unveiled by a poem he wrote for his sister upon her death. Her lineage was known and his wasn’t.
It seems that Christopher Babb isn’t the only War Hero in this lineage. Avon fought in both the first and second World Wars. Avon did his grandfather proud!
We don’t have much information on him, which is likely due to the massive fire at the National Archives in the 1970s which destroyed the military records of the vast majority of WWI & WWII soldiers. However, some documents survive that she light on the path he took.
Avon Dale Babb was born Avon Babb and had his name legally changed in 1912 at the age of 17.
In the next several years his life would change in an immeasurable way. He would become a member of the 22nd Aero Squadron. Its mission was to engage and clear enemy aircraft from the skies and provide escort to reconnaissance and bombardment squadrons over enemy territory. After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, the squadron returned to the United States and was demobilized. It is associated with the French Theater of Battle.
We next find Avon in July 1919 upon his return from WWI aboard the USS Missouri. This isn’t the ship you might envision. It was the 2nd ship of its name and was part of the Maine-Class of Battleships. It was launched in 1901. She circumnavigated the globe as part of the “Great White Fleet” and was painted in Peacetime White. Avon and many others hitch a ride on the USS Missouri on their way home from WWI.
Avon is the Senior ranking officer on the ship and his rank places him in the very first spot on the manifest. We see that the ship is returned to its initial berth of Newport News, VA. Shortly after this event, the ship was decommissioned and sold for scrap.
The 3rd ship of this name was the site of the Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo harbor that ended WWII. It is now stationed in Pearl Harbor.
Avon returned to the US Military in WWII in 1942 when he was drafted in what is known as the “old man draft”. It is no doubt that his skills as part of the 22nd Aero Squadron made him the right fit for this job. I don’t see any further documentation about his time in WWII to elaborate on this.
However, a document was found on Fold3.com which explains a terrible reality of war. Avon was listed by Ralph Breshears as the person who would always know where he was. They lived at the same address and Avon is listed as his brother-in-law. This record was cancelled in 1946 as Ralph had become a casualty of war. I’ve not determined which sister of Avon’s that was married to Ralph. There are many siblings in this family and the line isn’t well researched just yet.
The pin included in the photo appears to be of England’s Royal Artillery. I’ve not received an exact explanation of that just yet. I see no record of him participating in any activities in England and don’t yet understand why it is connected to his story.
I’m not good at military history, so I’ll throw this to the crowd to help in determining the exact nature of this Military Pin and as to how it might connect to this story.
Please contact me if you have any additional insights regarding Avon’s story.