Donald served as a Second Lieutenant & Pilot on B-17F "Hellcat" #42-37719, 533rd Bomber Squadron, 381st Bomber Group, Heavy, U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
He resided in Bristol County, Massachusetts prior to the war.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on January 15, 1942 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a Draftsmen and also as Single, without dependents.
Donald was "Killed In Action" when his B-17, after having been hit by German Flak, crashed into Lake IJsselmeer in the Netherlands during the war. The B-17 was recovered in February, 1975. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
Service # O-804383
Airmen who perished on B-17F #42-37719:
Anagnos, Athan A ~ 2nd Lt, Navigator, Connecticut
Beus, Raymon C ~ Sgt, Right Waist Gunner, Utah
Byser, Joseph J ~ 2nd Lt, Co-Pilot, West Virginia
Fiery, Charles D ~ 2nd Lt, Bombardier, Maryland
Harrah, Luster T ~ S/Sgt, Radio Operator, West Virginia
Lab, Ralph L ~ Sgt, Top Turret Gunner, Ohio
Nason, Donald E ~ 2nd Lt, Pilot, Massachusetts
Stonich, Paul W ~ Sgt, Ball Turret, Gunner, Illinois
Whitney, George A ~ Sgt, Tail Gunner, Massachusetts
Sgt John R. Lantz, Left Waist Gunner, became a POW of the German's and was the only survivor of this flight.
( Bio & Crew Report by: Russell S. "Russ" Pickett )
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~∼Donald E. Nason attended Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he was a member of the floriculture club.
He was pilot of B-17 "Hellcat" on a bombing mission to Oschersleben, Germany.
Statement from John R. Lantz, right waist gunner and only survivor from "hellcat":
"We flew just over the Dutch/German border when we hit on very heavy hostile fire. Our number 3 engine was hit and lost a lot of oil, I could see it from my right waist position, it hit the right stabilizer. The engine stuttered and the pilot decided to turn and fly back to England. Than engines 2 and 4 gave a sign of jamming and Pilot Nason decided to try start engine number 3 again. Meanwhile we flew into the German clouds to avoid contact with the German fighter planes. For unknown reason engine number 3 caught fire, it was obvious we where in big troubles and had to leave the plane. The navigator told us we where above water, but there was no other choice.
Then our Pilot gave the command to bail out by intercom, I jumped out and had free fall for a while, I didn't see the plane come down. Shortly after I hit the ice cold water, I was picked out of the water quickly by a Dutch fisher boat minutes later followed by the Dutch harbor patrol boat. Nobody else from my crew was found."
The patrol boat was seen by a German boat and Lantz was taken prison. Some months after the incident the dead body's of 5 crewmembers from "hellcat" where found in the Zuiderzee. Their names are Nason, Anagnos, Fiery and Harrah. The other 4 crewmembers where never found.
Contributor: ET (47514618) • [email protected]
2LT 533 BOMB SQ 381 BOMB GP(H)