Adams, Donald E., Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1952-1952, AAF MOS 1055, 1st Fighter Wing
Service Years
1942 - 1952
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Harry McCown (Mac) to remember Adams, Donald E., Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Detroit, MI

Date of Passing
Aug 30, 1952
Location of Interment
Clinton Grove Cemetery - Mt Clemens, Michigan
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Air Ace

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Air Force Memorial (AFM)In the Line of Duty
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page
  2017, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Don Adams was born on February 23, 1921, in Caton, New York. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree from Western Michigan College in 1942, he entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on October 24, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on August 30, 1943.

Lt Adams then served as an instructor pilot at Newport, Arkansas, from August 1943 to July 1944, followed by advanced fighter training in the P-51 Mustang.

He went to England and joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron of the 55th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter Wing, 3rd Bombardment Division, 8th Air Force in February 1945, where he was credited with destroying 2 enemy aircraft on the ground while strafing enemy airfields before the war ended. Adams transferred to the 307th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Group on occupation duty in Germany in November 1946, and then returned to the U.S. in June 1947.

His next assignment was flying F-80 Shooting Stars and F-86 Sabres with the 62nd Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from July 1947 to October 1951.

Maj Adams then deployed to Korea, where he was credited with the destruction of 6.5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3.5 more damaged while flying with the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Suwon, South Korea from November 1951 to June 1952.

He joined the 27th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 1st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Griffiss AFB, New York, in July 1952, and was killed while flying an F-89 Scorpion near the Detroit Airport on August 30, 1952.

His Silver Star Citation reads:

For gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations as a Pilot, 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group, FIFTH Air Force, on 3 May 1952. Leading a squadron of six F-86 type aircraft, Major Adams attacked a flight of twenty MiG type aircraft. In the ensuing battle, from 30,000 feet down to 5,000, Major Adams aggressively pressed the attack despite mechanical difficulties which resulted in sever frosting of his windscreen and rendered his sighting system useless. With an extraordinary display of airmanship and gunnery skill, Major Adams succeeded in destroying the flight leader of the enemy element. In succeeding maneuvers he observed a second aircraft and, unaware of the first destruction because of excessively reduced visibility, he attacked, believing this aircraft to be his first target escaping. Continuing his aggressive attack, he destroyed the second aircraft as well. The destruction of the two aircraft effectively broke up the enemy force. By his high personal courage, resourcefulness, and extraordinary flying skill, Major Adams reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.

Other Comments:

"Korean War Aces" by Robert F. Dorr, Jon Lake, Warren Thompson (pg. 42) Shot down 2 MiG-15s

"F-86 Sabre Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing" by Warren Thompson (photo on pg. 40)
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  1946-1947, 31st Fighter Group

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31st Fighter Group Unit Page
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Germany, West
 31st Fighter Group Details

31st Fighter Group

Victory Claims (in Air) :

Destroyed : 580

Probable : 82

Damaged : 243

Aces were:
(scores in the group only- some scored victories while flying in other groups or squadrons)

307th FS
308th FS
309th FS
C.M. McCorkle (11)
Brooks, J.L. (13)
J.J. Voll (21)
F.J. Dorsch (8.5)
Skogstadt, N.C. (12)
R.J. Goebel (11)
J.M. Ainlay (8)
Riddle, R.E. (11)
L.P. Molland (10.5)
V.E. Warford (8)
S.J. Brown (10)
W.J. Goehausen (10)
M.D. McLaughlin (7)
E. Shipman (7)
R.F. Hurd (6)
R.F. Harmeyer (6)
J.D. Collinsworth (6)
H.W. Dorris (5)
R.D. Faxon (5)
V.C. Fields (6)
J.R. Smith (5)
G.G. Loving (5)
C.R. Fischette (5)
F.O. Trafton (5)
C.W. Payne (5)
J.H. White (5)
R.N. Baker (3)
R.D. Thompson (5)
W.J. Dillard (4)
F.A. Hill (2)
H.R. Thyng (5)
G.T. Buck (3)
W.J. Dillard (2)
D.C. Wilhelm (5)
W.A. Daniel (3)
W.A. Daniel (2)
S.J. Brown (5.5)
J.A. Goodson (2)
F.A. Hill (5)
D.E. Shafer (4)
G.T. Buck (3)

John Voll, 308th FS, 31st. Fighter Group in May of 1944, Luliang, China

Rollie Barton WWII P-51 Pilot with the 31st Fighter Group

Lt Leland Molland's Spitfire Mk VIII: 308th FS, Jan 1944

Constituted as 31st Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Trained with P-39's and participated in maneuvers. Redesignated 31st Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to England, May-Jun 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF and equipped with Spitfires. Entered combat in Aug 1942. Supported a raid made by Canadian, British, American, and French forces at Dieppe on 19 Aug. Escorted bombers and flew patrol and diversionary missions until Oct. Assigned to Twelfth AF for the invasion of North Africa, the pilots of the group flying Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algeria on 8 Nov 1942 and the ground echelon landing at Arzeu beach the same day. Attacked motor transports, gun positions, and troop concentrations during the three-day campaign for Algeria and French Morocco. Helped to defeat Axis forces in Tunisia by supporting ground troops and providing cover for bomber and fighter aircraft. During May and Jun 1943, provided escort for bombers on raids to Pantelleria and cover for naval convoys in the Mediterranean. Supported the landings on Sicily in July and took part in the conquest of that island. Covered the landings at Salerno early in Sep 1943 and at Anzio in Jan 1944. Also operated in close support of Allied ground forces in Italy and flew patrol and escort missions.

Assigned to Fifteenth AF in Apr 1944, converted to P-51's, and thereafter engaged primarily in escort work. Received a DUC for a mission on 21 Apr 1944 when the group, despite the severe weather that was encountered, provided cover for a force of heavy bombers during a raid on production centers in Rumania. On numerous other occasions escorted bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. In addition provided escort for reconnaissance aircraft and for C-47's engaged in the airborne operation connected with the invasion of Southern France. Also flew strafing missions against airdromes and communications targets. Took part in an operation in which a task force from Fifteenth AF attacked targets in Rumania while flying to Russia on 22 Jul 1944 and while returning to Italy on 26 Jul; on 25 Jul, after escorting P-38's from a base in Russia for a raid on an airdrome in Poland, the 31st group made attacks on a convoy of German trucks and on a force of German fighter-bombers, being awarded a DUC for its performance. Strafed rail and highway traffic in northern Italy in Apr 1945 when Allied forces were engaged in their final offensive in that area. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Activated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in Jun 1947. Assigned to Tactical Air Command and equipped with P-51's. Converted to F-84's in 1948. Redesignated 31st Fighter-Bomber Group in Jan 1950. Assigned to Strategic Air Command in Jul 1950. Redesignated 315t Fighter-Escort Group. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.

Assigned 8th AAF: Jun 1942

Wing/Command Assignment

VII FC: 10 Jun 1942 
VII FC, 6 FW 16 Aug

Combat Aircraft:

Spitfire V


ATCHAM 11 Jun. 42-1 Aug. 42. Hq. 307 & 308FS
HIGH ERCALL 11 Jun. 42-4 Aug. 42. 309FS
WESTHAMPNETT 1 Aug. 42-21 Oct. 42 (308 FS in 4 Aug. ,308 FS in 24 Aug. 42)
MERSTON 24 Aug. 42-unkn. 307FS
(307 and 309FS at Warmwell 19-27 Jul. 42; 307FS at Biggin Hill1 Aug. 42-24 Aug. 42; 308FS at Kenley 1 Aug. 42-24 Aug. 42).

Group COs

Col John R. Hawkins: 1 Jul 42-4 Dec. 42.

First Mission: 29 Aug. 1942
Last Mission: 9 Oct. 1942 
Total sorties: 1,286
*(First sorties with RAF 26 Jul. 42 First squadron.operation 5 Aug.42) 
MIA: 5
Enemy Aircraft Claims: 2 - 1 - 6 air

Claims to Fame

First group to commence operations with 8AF. 

Early History:

Activated 1 Feb. 1940 at Selfridge Field, Mich. Trained with early P-39s. Moved to Baer Field, Ind, 6 Dec. 1941 and to New Orleans AB, La, in Feb.1942. Scheduled to fly P-39s to United Kingdom via north Atlantic ferry route but project cancelled. Ground echelon sailed on Queen Elizabeth on the 4 June 1942 arriving Clyde 10 June 1942. Pilots followed later in month. Flying training at Atcham 26 Jun. 1942.

Subsequent History:

Assigned 12AF, Xll FC on the 14 Sep. 1942 but continued to operate under VlIl FC. Off operational status 10 Oct. 1942. Spitfires shipped to Gibraltar. Personnel sailed from Clyde for Gibraltar 26 Oct. 1942. Unit fought with the 12AF in North Africa and Italy. In May 1944 unit converted to P-51s and flew escort for 15AF. Unit was inactivated on Nov. 1945. Activated again in 1946. Operated F-51s in Germany and in 1947 returned to US. Equipped with F-84 in 1948. The unit was TAC unit for many years flying F-100s, in operations in the Vietnam War. 

Combat - Fighter Units
Parent Unit
Fighter Units
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Last Updated: Dec 10, 2019
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3 Members Also There at Same Time
31st Fighter Group

Fleming, Lawrence J., Maj Gen, (1942-1975) Captain
Stearns, John D., 1st Lt, (1942-1948) First Lieutenant
Adams, Ranald Trevor, Lt Gen, (1946-1981) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Second Lieutenant

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