Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 honors a man who has served his country and community for most of his 90+ years.
The airpark was rededicated in Joe's name in February 2008 in recognition of his tenure as commander of Plant 42, his service as a Palmdale City Councilman, and his role as commissioner on Palmdale’s Aviation and Aerospace Commission. The airpark displays a collection of aircraft flown, tested, designed, produced or modified at U.S. Air Force Plant 42.
Joe was Air Force Plant 42’s third commander, serving from 1963-1967. He retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1973. After leaving military service he worked in community relations for Rockwell and Boeing on the B-1 bomber and space shuttle programs.
Joe was elected to the Palmdale City Council in 1988 and served three four-year terms, twice as mayor pro-tem. Among the projects Joe championed were the Palmdale Playhouse, Antelope Valley Mall, naming of Poncitlán Square, and naming Domenic Massari Park after the former mayor and longtime public servant known as “Mr. Palmdale.”
Over the years Joe’s many community affiliations have included the Salvation Army Lancaster Corps, Advisory Board member and president; Antelope Valley Fair Board of Directors (1974-1976); Palmdale General Hospital Advisory Board; Antelope Valley Cultural Foundation member and chairman; and Family Service Association Board (1963-1967). He was a member of Godde Hill Estates Homeowners Association Board for 18 years and served as president.
Joe was a member of the Edwards Air Force Base Flight Test Historical Foundation for several years, served as Palmdale-Poncitlán Sister City Organization member and chairman during his terms on the city council, and served on the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout review board for several years. Joe is past director and past president of the Antelope Valley Transportation Agency and the Air Pollution Control District, and was Children’s Bureau Advisory Board chairman for several years.
Still active in the community, Joe has served on the board of United Way since the early 1960s. He is a member of the Palmdale Kiwanis Club and served as president (1975-76). He has been a member of the AV Board of Trade since the 1960s and was president in the ’70s. Joe continues to serve on the Los Angeles County High Desert Hospital Advisory Board, now L.A. County Health Care System Advisory Board, and co-moderates a monthly Old Timer's Roundtable group.
Joe was born in Missouri on January 5, 1923, and grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He graduated from Northern Oklahoma Junior College. After the United States entered World War II, Joe joined the Army Air Corps and undertook military flight training. He flew B-25s, T-33s, B-17s and B-29s. After the war he served overseas, flying B-29s and C-46s. A military science major, Joe graduated from Oklahoma A&M College in 1952. He served in Vietnam from 1967-68.
Joe married Audria Hall in December 1949 in Sacramento. Their four grown children are Jane Gold, Joe Davies III, Marilyn Tenbrook and Diana Dees. They have five grandchildren.