Friday, November 11, 2011

Some Gave All -- Lt. Donald G. White

Donald White was my fathers uncle. My grandmothers brother.

He was reported Missing In Action on February 23, 1943 at the age of 24.  His story has always haunted me. From the empty grave at the cemetery, to his uniform hanging up in our local museum, to the stories handed down through the generations of my great grandmother waking up, with very eerie nightmares, the night his plane went down....his story is one of a true American hero, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Here are some tid bits I have found about him.

October 7, 1942.
Dear Folks,
Well, I've been around quite a bit since I last wrote you. On Monday before graduation they called us out at 1:30 p.m. and asked us to volunteer to get twin engine time if we wanted to fly P-38s. so I volunteered, and they sent us over to Williams Field that same afternoon, and we graduated in our overalls on the flight line during lunch hour the next day.
We got back to Luke Field Saturday, and the rest of the fellows had already been sent on to the different places, and we got sent out of there Saturday evening.
We drove up to March Field Monday afternoon, and Tuesday afternoon they gave us orders to report here at Glendale and we are going to fly what is said to be the best airplane in the world. This is about five or six miles from Los Angeles and Hollywood. We will leave for Muroe Lake, about 60 miles northeast of here, for six weeks training, and then be sent back here to patrol the coast. My friend Webber and I are in the same squadron.
How is silo filling this year? Are you going to get the silo as full as you did last year?
Must close now. Will mail you the wings sometime this week, Mom.
Love, Don

"Don was born on February 12, 1919, the eldest child of Harry and Ruth White. He grew up in Comanche County, attending Sunnyside country school, and graduating from Coldwater High School with the class of 1937. After graduation he became involved full time in the family farming and cattle operation. Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve in January, 1942, and a month later entered pre-flight training at Santa Ana, California. He was graduated from Luke Field at Phoenix, Arizona, in September, and received his second lieutenant commission. He then volunteered for training in the P-38 fighter plane, and received his training on the west coast. On December 15, Don flew to Honolulu, and from there, joined with other members of the 339th Fighter Squadron, being formed in New Caledonia. On February 23, 1943, while on a mission to accompany bombers on a raid over Bougainville, his plane was hit, and he was listed as missing in action. Don was 24 years of age. Each family member remembers him in different ways, but always... with love. -- Ruth White and Family, Comanche County History

And then this one:

The Western Star , February 26, 1943.
Has Been With Fighter Squadron Since December.
Mr. and Mrs. Harry White of Coldwater received the following telegram Wednesday morning from the War Department: Washington, D.C. Feb. 23. "The Secretary of War desires me to express our deep regret that the Commanding General, United States Army Force in South Pacific area, has reported your son, Second Lieutenant Donald G. White, air corps, missing in action. Additional information will be sent when received. THE ADJUTANT GENERAL."
Lieut. White enlisted in the Army Air Corps February 11, 1942, and after completing his training left the United States December 15 for combat duty. His parents and many friends here anxiously await further word from him. 

This man was gone for 36 years before I was born, but I take my boys to his stone at the cemetery when ever we are out there. I don't want to ever forget him, and I don't want THEM to ever forget him.


Rhonda said...

Very thoughtful post. I agree, to not forget these loved ones. These stories can be very sobering and thought-provoking.