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1LT Donald Dale Pucket

1LT Donald Dale Pucket

Birth
Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado, USA
Death 9 Jul 1944 (aged 28)
Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania
Burial Lemay, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Plot SECTION 84 SITE 270-272
Memorial ID 19393 · View Source
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World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He was awarded the US military's highest honor for his actions during World War II. In 1942 he joined the US Army from Boulder, Colorado and by July 1944 he was a 1st lieutenant flying bomber aircraft with the 98th Bombardment Group of the US Army Air Force. On July 9, 1944 he participated in a bombing raid over Ploieşti, Romania when his aircraft was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. He ordered his crew to abandon the plane, but three men were too frightened to parachute out. He then voluntarily stayed behind with the men and tried unsuccessfully to regain control of the plane but the aircraft crashed into a mountainside, killing all on board. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor a year later, on June 23, 1945. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he also received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with 2 oak leaf clusters), and the Purple Heart. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "He took part in a highly effective attack against vital oil installation in Ploesti, Rumania, on 9 July 1944. Just after "bombs away," the plane received heavy and direct hits from antiaircraft fire. One crewmember was instantly killed and 6 others severely wounded. The airplane was badly damaged, 2 were knocked out, the control cables cut, the oxygen system on fire, and the bomb bay flooded with gas and hydraulic fluid. Regaining control of his crippled plane, 1st Lt. Pucket turned its direction over to the copilot. He calmed the crew, administered first aid, and surveyed the damage. Finding the bomb bay doors jammed, he used the hand crank to open them to allow the gas to escape. He jettisoned all guns and equipment but the plane continued to lose altitude rapidly. Realizing that it would be impossible to reach friendly territory he ordered the crew to abandon ship. Three of the crew, uncontrollable from fright or shock, would not leave. 1st Lt. Pucket urged the others to jump. Ignoring their entreaties to follow, he refused to abandon the 3 hysterical men and was last seen fighting to regain control of the plane. A few moments later the flaming bomber crashed on a mountainside. 1st Lt. Pucket, unhesitatingly and with supreme sacrifice, gave his life in his courageous attempt to save the lives of 3 others."

Bio by: William Bjornstad


Inscription

1LT, US ARMY AIR FORCES WORLD WAR II


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 6 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19393
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT Donald Dale Pucket (15 Dec 1915–9 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19393, citing Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .