Donald Milton Pell was born on October 7, 1921 in Brazil, Clay County, Indiana, the son of Doctor Harry M. Pell and Lucy Berrill Ruh Pell. Donald graduated from Brazil High School and attended the University of Indiana for two years where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He was inducted into the Navy in October 1942 and attended Aerographer school at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Donald was assigned to the USS Pocomoke, a seaplane tender stationed on the island of Tawi Tawi in the Philippines. On June 4, 1945 he rode along on a Martin Mariner PBM-5 Navy patrol bomber commanded by Lieutenant DeLand Croze. The seaplane was part of Patrol Bombing Squadron 20 attached to the USS Pokomoke. They left Tawi Tawi on what was to be a 12 hour patrol.
During the patrol the PBM-5 attacked and sank two Japanese merchant ships; however on the third pass the Japanese navy escort ship zeroed in on the PBM-5 and made several direct hits with antiaircraft fire.
The aircraft was severely damaged and the pilot managed to make an emergency landing on the west coast of Celebes, now known as Sulawesi, Indonesia. The crew went ashore seeking medical assistance for a severely wounded crewman in an attempt to save his life. The following day the Japanese ground forces attacked and a day long battle ensued. During the battle, Donald was shot and killed.
Among the crew of the USS Pokomoke, Donald was only one of two fatalities during World War II.
After the war his body was recovered and he was buried at Cottage Hill Cemetery in Brazil, Indiana on January 13, 1949. His father, Doctor Harry Pell and his brother Doctor John Pell served in the Medical Corps during World War II.
Ruth Eleanor Johnson Saybor