Maj Don Merrill Beerbower

Maj Don Merrill Beerbower

Birth
Davidson, Saskatoon Census Division, Saskatchewan, Canada
Death 9 Aug 1944 (aged 22)
Reims, Departement de la Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Burial Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France
Plot A Row 30 Grave 42
Memorial ID 56371114 · View Source
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Don Beerbower
Major Don Merril Beerbower
1921 - 1944

Date of Birth: August 26, 1921
Place of Birth: Davidson, Saskatchewan, Canada

Residence:
1921 – Davidson, Saskatchewan
1921 or 1922 – Wadena, Minnesota
1923 – Hill City, Minnesota

Education:
Public School – Hill City, Minnesota, 1927-1939
Post Secondary – Iowa State College (later University), Ames, Iowa
Fall 1940 to Winter 1942 – Major: Creamery Operations

Marriage: September 29, 1942 to Elayne Kutcher of rural Hill City, Minnesota

Children:
Bonita Lea "Bonnie" Beerbower Hansen
Dawn Marie Beerbower – deceased

Military Service:
January 24, 1942 to August 9, 1944 – United States Army Air Force
September 29, 1942 – commissioned 2nd/Lt
September 29, 1942 – Received pilot rating, Luke Field, Az
January 18, 1943 – Assigned to the 353FS, 354th FG
March 19 1943 – Promoted to 1st/Lt.
December 1, 1943 – first combat mission of 354th FG
January 5, 1944 – First aerial victory, Messerschmitt 110, (1)
January 15, 1944 – promoted to Captain
February 20, 1944 – Achieved Ace status, Messerschmitt 109, (5)
June 30, 1944 – Named Commanding Officer 353rd FS
July 7, 1944 – Last aerial victory, Focke-Wolf 190, (15.5 total)
August 8, 1944 – promoted to Major

Major Decorations/Awards: Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (2) (one was awarded by Lt. Gen. Lewis H Brereton commander of the 9th Air Force on 15 Jul 1944 at ceremonies in France per Tripp Alyn, 354FG Assn).
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (26)
Purple Heart
Distinguished Unit Citation
British Distinguished Flying Cross

Date of Death: August 9, 1944
Place of Death: German airdrome three miles north of Reims, France.

Inducted to the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000.

Another note from Tripp Alyn 354FG Assn.: "Though fellow pilots were transitioning to the newer P-51D, Beerbower chose to retain his B-model as it had 4 50cal machine guns and was lighter as a result, with better speed, climb & manuver characteristics."

Statement from 2nd Lt Frederick B. Deeds:
"I was flying No. 2 man on wing of Major Don M. Beerbower who was leading 353rd Fighter Squadron on an armed reconnaissance mission. We went down to strafe an airfield North of Reims. Our first pass was from North to South, Firing at twin-engine E/A in revetments. I noticed Major Beerbower got hits on an E/A. We came off the field, circled to the right and made a pass from east to West to knock out gun emplacements as Blue and Green flights made a pass at planes in revetments. As we came in range, in line-abreast formation, the guns opened fire on us and we returned the fire. Major Beerbower silenced one gun and pulled up straight as we left. I saw hits on his wing and the canopy was gone. The plane was climbing and it appeared that the Major was hit. The plane climbed until it partially stalled, Half-rolled and nosed straight down in a dive, exploding when it hit the ground. The pilot fell free while it was in the vertical dive, But no apparent attempt was made to open his chute."
Contributor: Andy (48021049) • csm2bde@hotmail.com


Family Members

Siblings
Gravesite Details Entered the Service from Minnesota.

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  • Maintained by: Peggy Cassady Harris
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 7 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56371114
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Maj Don Merrill Beerbower (26 Aug 1921–9 Aug 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56371114, citing Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France ; Maintained by Peggy Cassady Harris (contributor 46977783) .