Donald E Adams

Donald E Adams

Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA
Death 30 Aug 1952 (aged 31)
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 111706613 · View Source
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Donald E. Adams
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Donald E. Adams
(February 23, 1921 – August 30, 1952)

Donald E. Adams was a United States Air Force flying ace during the Korean War. He was born in Caton, New York. After earning a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan College in 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. He was awarded his pilot's wings and commissioned a second lieutenant on August 30, 1943. He then served as an instructor at Newport, Arkansas until July 1944. In February 1945, however, he joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron of the 55th Fighter Group in the European Theater of World War II, and was credited with two enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground.
He remained in the military after the war, flying F-80 Shooting Star and F-86 Sabre jet fighters as part of the 62nd Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from July 1947 to October 1951. As part of the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Group in the Korean War, Major Adams was credited with 6.5 enemy aircraft shot down between January and May 1952, making him an ace. He was awarded a Silver Star for leading a squadron of six against 20 "MIG type aircraft" on May 3 and downing two of the enemy. Transferred back to the United States, Adams was killed in a Detroit airshow crash on August 30, 1952, making him one of only two Korean War flying aces to die before the end of the war, the other being George A. Davis, Jr. Major Adams and his radar operator died after a wing tore off of their Northrop F-89 Scorpion.

Silver Star
Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Donald E. Adams, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations as a Pilot, 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group, FIFTH Air Force, on 3 May 1952. Leading a squadron of six F-86 type aircraft, Major Adams attacked a flight of twenty MIG type aircraft. In the ensuing battle, from 30,000 feet down to 5,000, Major Adams aggressively pressed the attack despite mechanical difficulties which resulted in sever frosting of his windscreen and rendered his sighting system useless. With an extraordinary display of airmanship and gunnery skill, Major Adams succeeded in destroying the flight leader of the enemy element. In succeeding maneuvers he observed a second aircraft and, unaware of the first destruction because of excessively reduced visibility, he attacked, believing this aircraft to be his first target escaping. Continuing his aggressive attack, he destroyed the second aircraft as well. The destruction of the two aircraft effectively broke up the enemy force. By his high personal courage, resourcefulness, and extraordinary flying skill, Major Adams reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.
General Orders: Headquarters, Far East Air Forces, General Orders No. 373 (July 30, 1952)

Action Date: 3-May-52

Service: Air Force

Rank: Major

Company: 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron

Regiment: 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group

Division: 5th Air Force

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Diana Smith 47661786
  • Added: 3 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111706613
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Donald E Adams (23 Feb 1921–30 Aug 1952), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111706613, ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) Unknown.