Gott, Donald Joseph, 1st Lt Fallen
 
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1091-Pilot, B-17
Last AFSC Group
USAAF
Last Unit
1943-1944, M 1091, 452nd Bombardment Group, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
First Lieutenant

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Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1923
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Arnett, Oklahoma
Last Address
RAF Deopham Green (USAAF 142), Norfolk, England

Casualty Date
Nov 09, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
France
Conflict
Wars and Conflicts/World War II
Location of Interment
Harmon Cemetery - Harmon, Oklahoma
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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World War II Fallen
  2013, World War II Fallen

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 Unit Assignments
729th Bomb ardment Squadron, Heavy	452nd Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, 729th Bomb ardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1944, M 1091, 452nd Bombardment Group, Heavy
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Combat and Operations History
  1944-1944 Missions/Operations/Various Missions over Germany 1944
  1944-1944 Missions/Operations/France (Various Operations) 1944
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Medal of Honor Citation

Awarded posthumously for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Donald Joseph Gott, United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 729th Bombardment Squadron, 452d Bombardment Group (H), Eighth Air Force in action over Saarbrucken, Germany, on 9 November 1944.

On a bombing run upon the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken a B-17 aircraft piloted by First Lieutenant Gott was seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Three of the aircraft's engines were damaged beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the No. 4 engine were leaping back as far as the tail assembly. Flares in the cockpit were ignited and a fire raged therein, which was further increased by free-flowing fluid from damaged hydraulic lines. The interphone system was rendered useless. In addition to these serious mechanical difficulties the engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio operator's arm was severed below the elbow. Suffering from intense pain, despite the application of a tourniquet, the radio operator fell unconscious.

Faced with the imminent explosion of his aircraft, and death to his entire crew, mere seconds before bombs away on the target, First Lieutenant Gott and his copilot conferred. Something had to be done immediately to save the life of the wounded radio operator. The lack of a static line and the thought that his unconscious body striking the ground in unknown territory would not bring immediate medical attention forced a quick decision. First Lieutenant Gott and his copilot decided to fly the flaming aircraft to friendly territory and then attempt to crash land. Bombs were released on the target and the crippled aircraft proceeded alone to Allied-controlled territory. When that had been reached, First Lieutenant Gott had the copilot personally inform all crewmembers to bail out. The copilot chose to remain with 1st. Lieutenant Gott in order to assist in landing the bomber. With only one normally functioning engine, and with the danger of explosion much greater, the aircraft banked into an open field, and when it was at an altitude of 100 feet it exploded, crashed, exploded again and then disintegrated. All three crewmembers were instantly killed.

First Lieutenant Gott's loyalty to his crew, his determination to accomplish the task set forth to him, and his deed of knowingly performing what may have been his last service to his country was an example of valor at its highest.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 38 (May 16, 1945)
Action Date: 9-Nov-44
Service: Army Air Forces
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: 729th Bombardment Squadron
Regiment: 452d Bombardment Group (H)
Division: 8th Air Force
   
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