Ed Davidson

During 12 and a half years of service to our country as a Navy fighter pilot, Lt. Commander Ed Davidson was the 33rd aviator to survive more than 200 combat missions, winning 22 combat decorations in the deadly skies over Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and the South China Sea, while flying his Mach 2-rated F-4 Phantom II jet fighter.

Near the end of his three-year combat exposure, Capt. Ed was flying fighter escort right next to then-Lt. Commander John McCain when he was shot down over North Vietnam and taken Prisoner of War.

This story is recounted in Capt. Ed’s 366-page warrior-poet memoir, “The Warrior’s Burden, and the Hoof Prints of Butterflies; the Princess Myth, and the Math of God” which we highly recommend.

A few weeks after John McCain’s crippled aircraft tumbled across the nose of his Phantom fighter on fire and shedding spare parts, Capt. Ed was ordered to Key West Naval Air Station as a Top Gun-style combat flight instructor, where he began scuba diving with his Navy Seal and Green Beret special operations buddies who were also stationed there.

Having subsequently remained in the Florida Keys, Capt. Ed became a state-wide environmental activist and citizen government watch dog. Elected to three terms as the Board Chair of Florida Audubon Society and having spent 10 years as a national park eco-tour operator, Capt Ed became an occasional eco-policy adviser to Governor Jeb Bush and sat on the federal/state design committee for the $20 Billion, 30-year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan or CERP.

During his decades of civic involvement, Capt. Davidson has met with three U.S. Presidents, seven Florida Governors, and multiple Presidential Cabinet Secretaries.  Among several dozen environmental legal challenges, Capt Ed also filed the largest Endangered Species suit in Florida history when $3 billion worth of condo and resort developers attempted to add 35,000+ new residents to North Key Largo – which would have amounted to Miami Beach densities at the gateway to the Florida Keys! As a result of that successful legal challenge, 6,000 acres of Key Largo was transferred to public ownership as part of the Florida state parks and the National Wildlife Refuge systems.

As the result of attending many years’ worth of governmental and school board meetings as a “taxpayer watchdog,” Capt. Ed ran and was elected on a reform platform to the Florida Keys School Board, overseeing more than a $1 billion in operations and construction expenditures during his four-year term.

Capt. Ed continues to spend most of his time as an active public citizen and conservation property owner in Islamorada, while overseeing his Discount Dive Shop and Florida Keys Bed and Breakfast apartment rental operations in Marathon.