Bryan, Donald Septimus, Lt Col

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1961-1964, United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
Service Years
1942 - 1964
Lieutenant Colonel

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Bryan, Donald Septimus, Lt Col USAF(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Paicines, California
Last Address
Adel, Georgia

Date of Passing
May 15, 2012
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Air Training Command Instructor (pre-1966) Air Force Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal Air Ace American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal

 Military Association Memberships
American Fighter Aces AssociationAir Force Memorial (AFM)
  2016, American Fighter Aces Association
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
He was credited with shooting down 13.33 enemy aircraft and damaging 4 in WWII.
His remains are in the Christ Episcopal Church Urn Garden, Valdosta, GA.

His DSC citation:

Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Air Corps) Donald S. Bryan (ASN: 0-727398), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352d Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, during a bomber escort mission over Germany, on 2 November 1944. On this date, Captain Bryan was leading his flight in escort to our heavy bombers when he observed a formation of approximately fifty enemy aircraft coming in to attack the bombers. Captain Bryan led his flight into the center of the attacking formation of enemy aircraft where he closed on one and hit it several times. He was now alone and in the midst of many enemy aircraft who were unusually aggressive and attacking vigorously. Captain Bryan made a pass from astern at eight ME-109s and shot two down in flames and damaged another. He continued to fight with the enemy, being simultaneously attacked himself. He finally destroyed five enemy aircraft and damaged two others, having engaged the last enemy with but a single gun operating. His courage and outstanding aggressiveness in the presence of great danger were exemplary of the highest traditions of the Army Air Forces.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Strategic Forces in Europe, General Orders No. 87 (November 2, 1944)

Action Date: 2-Nov-44

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Captain

Company: 328th Fighter Squadron

Regiment: 352d Fighter Group

Division: 8th Air Force

Other Comments:
TV show: "Dogfights", "P-51 Mustang" episode

Book: "Aces Against Germany", Eric Hammel, Pocket Books, 1993, pp 324-28.
 Photo Album   (More...

  1944-1945, M 1055, 352nd Fighter Group

From Month/Year
August / 1944
To Month/Year
May / 1945
352nd Fighter Group Unit Page
M 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
RAF Bodney near Watton, Norfolk, England
United Kingdom
 352nd Fighter Group Details





The 352d Fighter Group was one of the most highly decorated USAAF Fighter Groups inWorld War II, producing many leading aces of the war. The 352d was composed of three squadrons: (the 328th, 486th and 487th Fighter Squadrons). Once deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), the group was eventually headquartered in Bodney, England before being forward deployed to Belgium. It performed a variety of missions for the Eighth Air Force, but predominantly served as bomber escort. After the war the unit was transferred to the District of Columbia Air National Guard and redesignated the 113th Fighter Group.

The first missions of the 352d FG were flown on 9 September 1943 when the Thunderbolts flew an escort mission over the North Sea protecting B-17 Flying Fortress bombers returning from a raid over continental Europe. Skirmishes with the Luftwaffe were frequent, but it wasn't until 26 November when Major John C. Meyer of the 487th FS scored the Group's first victory over Europe – an Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter. Meyer later became deputy commander of the 352d during its most successful period of operations.
On 8 April 1944, the 352d exchanged their radial-engined P-47s for sleek North American P-51 Mustang fighter planes. It was then that the Group adopted their unique blue nose marking. It is legend among aviation historians that the German Luftwaffe referred to the 352d as the "Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney." Whether this is true or not is irrelevant because indeed, the 352d FG was undoubtedly successful. In the end, the Group flew nearly 60,000 combat hours in 19 months, claimed 519 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air (4th highest among the 15 groups of VIII Fighter Command), 287 on the ground and produced 26 aerial aces for losses in combat of 118 aircraft. Notable pilots of the 352d include top scoring P-51 aces Major George Preddy and Col. John C. Meyer, Captain Donald Bryan, Lt. Robert "Punchy" Powell, Capt. John "Smokey" Stover, Capt. John Thornell, Capt. William C. Miller, Capt. Raymond Littge and Capt. William T. Whisner.
Stations flown from :

Bodney, England (July '43 - Jan '45)
Chievres, Belgium (Jan '45 - April '45
Bodney, England (April '45 - end WWII)


Air Offensive, Europe
Northern France
Central Europe

The Pilot: Utah native Alden Rigby flew this P-51, named for his wife and baby daughter. Logging 76 combat missions, comprising 272 combat hours, during World War Two, and being credited with six victories, he was decorated with the Silver Star, the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and the Distinguished Unit Citation, and retired a Major in 1979 after 25 years with the Utah Air Guard.

Maj. George E. Preddy, Jr.
This photo was taken following a mission on July 18 '44 when Preddy claimed 4 Ju-88s. His claim was reduced to 3 confirmed

P-51B-10-NA "Princess Elizabeth"
Unit: 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: HO-W (42-106449)
Pilot - 1st Lt.William Whisner, May 1944. Now the plane at Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.

P-51B-10-NA "Snoot's Sniper"
Unit: 328th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: PE-S (42-106703)
Pilot - Francis Horne. RAF Bodney, UK, 1944. He flew this airplane during WW2 in Europe, he was credited with 5.5 kills. Note: name is misspelled; it was meant to be 'Snoot's Snipper', because crew chief Art 'Snoot' Snyder was a barber. Note: 'barber pole' stripes on tail.


The personal mount of Major (later colonel) John C Meyer. Natural metal overall. Propeller spinner and fuselage Medium Blue, propeller Black with Yellow blades tips.

P-51B-10-NA "Pattie Ann"
Unit: 328th FS 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: PE-T (42-106712)
Bodney, Norfolk, England.

lt. John F Jr. "Direct Line" Thornell

P-51D-10-NA "Little One III"
Unit: 328th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: PE-B (44-14061)
Circa 1945

The Pilot: The third in a succession of aircraft named for his wife Francis, Don Bryan racked up a score of 13 victories during his combat tour, including a victory over the hard-to-catch Arado 234 jet bomber. Bryan entered the Army Air Force in 1943 and joined the 352nd Fighter Group after serving as an advanced instructor stateside. During his combat tour, he was especially proud that he brought his wingmen back from each mission: I think that Im the luckiest leader in the Group. I flew 140 combat missions, and I never lost a wingman. Mr. Bryan received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters. He served in the Air Force for 23 years, and retired as a Lt. Col.

P-51D-10-NA "Straw Boss 2"
Unit: 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: PE-X (44-14111)
Pilot - CO of 352 FG Col. James Mayden.

There are a number of websites, books and magazines containing pictures of the illustrated P51B Mustang, "The West 'by Gawd' Virginian with its middle section burned out lying in the middle of an English field. One would think that having an ammo and fuel-laden airplane burst into flames shortly after takeoff and having to belly-land it would be enough of a thrill.

However, pilot Bob 'Punchy' Powell tells of a mission that he maintains gave him a more meaningful thrill. On May 4, 1944, the 328th Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group, led by Col. John C. Meyer, Jr., took off on a "Ramrod" (bomber escort) mission. Four flights of four, 16 Mustangs in all, climbed into a low-hanging overcast expecting to breakout at about 8,000 feet.

Typically, the squadron leader flew on his instruments and the other 15 pilots, flying only 15 to 20 feet apart, focused intently on the silhouetted aircraft next to them to maintain their position with virtually zero visibility.

But the human element is a slippery factor. Just imagine 16 aircraft loaded with fuel and ammunition, flying in dense, dark clouds just a few feet apart and the intense concentration required of these pilots just to maintain their position in the formation. Someone must surely crack . . . lose their cool. Or, loosen up a fraction, fand slide a few deadly feet left or right...or maybe forget to switch fuel tanks, and the sputtering engine slows the plane just enough to collide with an airplane behind...

The reported 8,000 foot ceiling never opened. Instead, the thick clouds (called soup) continued up to their assigned altitude of 27,000 feet. There, they got a call that the bombers had been ordered to abort the mission. No Ramrod today. Time elapsed? About 90 minutes.

Anyone who's ever driven in a white-out blizzard at 5 mpg can testify that after 15 minutes, nerves get frayed. To imagine nearly two hours of the stuff, in wing-to-wing traffic at 250 mph is staggering!

Nevertheless, the 328th wasn't going to stay in the air forever, and landing at one of the plentiful Luftwaffe airfields wasn't an option. So, J. C. Meyer called to the three squadrons to make precise, incremental turns, still on instruments, to return to base, still depending on their skills and fortitude to get home safely. Regardless of one's affections, faith becomes quite tangible considering the variables offered them.

Each of the three squadrons began their 180 degree turns and opting to let down to try to get under the dense clouds. (Punchy recalls cold sweat on his face and body from the lengthy stress of flying tight formation for such a long period). Finally, they punched through the base of the overcast still over enemy territory. Without a word of command, these pilots quickly moved to combat formation as if on signal. Punchy remembers his feeling of pride in this exhibition of precise teamwork on this memorable mission, one of the 87 he flew.

Group COs

Col Joseph L. Mason: 18 May 1943 - 15 Nov. 1944.
Col Mayden acting CO 24 Jul. 1944 - 1 Sep. 1944
Col James D. Mayden: 16 Nov. 1944 - Sep. 1945.
Lt Col William T. Halton: Sep. 1945 - Nov. 1945.

First Mission: 9 Sep. 1943
Last Mission: 3 May 1945
Total sorties:420
Aircraft MIA: 118

Claims: Air 519 air; 287 ground.

Major Awards:

Two Distinguished Unit Citations: 8 May 1944: Brunswick escort.
1 Jan. 1945, 487FS only: destruction 23 enemy aircraft

Unit Claims to Fame

George Preddy, highest scoring Mustang ace in 8AF.
487FS only 8AF squadron to be independently awarded a DUC. Destroyed 38 enemy aircraft in 2 Nov. 1944 battle, second highest record for single day's kill
Early History:

Activated 1 Oct. 1943 at Mitchel Field, NY. Actual formation at Bradley Field, Conn. in Oct. 1942, with 486 and 487FS unit was redesignated as 21 and 34 FS. Early training at Westover Field, Mass. and Trumbull Field, Conn. On 9 Mar. 1943 moved to Farmingdale AAField, NY. and commenced traininq on P-47 aircraft. Moved Westover Field, 24 May 1943, and. operated there until 16 Jun. 1943 when overseas movement began with a move to Camp Kilmer, NJ. Then the unit sailed on the Queen Elizabeth on 1 Jul. 1943 and arrived in Clyde on 6 Jul. 1943

Subsequent History:

Many personnel transferred for early return to US after VE-day. aircraft to went to depots in Aug. 1945. Remaining personnel returned to the US on Nov. 1945, sailing on the Queen Mary on 4 Nov. 1945 and arriving in New York on 9 Nov. 1945. Group established at Camp Kilmer, NJ. and inactivated on the 10 Nov. 1945. Redesignated the 113 FG and allotted to DC ANG in 1946, and activated as an Air Defence Unit. Equipped with various fighter aircraft. Later as 113 Tactical Fighter Wing was flying F-100 super saber jet aircraft.

Capt. Ed Heller's "HELL-ER Bust"

Pilot: Capt. Edwin L. Heller
Nose art: Hell-er-Bust
Squadron: 486
Serial #: 44-14696
Code: PZ-H
Model: P-51D

P-51D-10-NA "Moonbeam McSwine"
Unit: 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF
Serial: HO/W (44-14237)
Pilot - William T. Whisner.

P-51D 'Diann Ruth II' flown by Captain Charles Cesky

Kentucky Babe.Lt. Steve Price

Lt. Col. J. C. Meyer

Lt. Richard F Semon. 328th Fighter Squadron. P-51D 44-14343 PE-S_ "Dingbat".

Lt. Eugene W James. 328th Fighter Squadron. P-51D 44-14207 PE-E_ "Rose Marie" (L) "The Kelly Kid 2" (R).

Lt. Charles M Price, 486th Fighter Squadron. P-51D 44-13671 PZ-X “Little Skunk”.




Combat - Fighter Units
Parent Unit
Fighter Units
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Feb 14, 2013
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39 Members Also There at Same Time
352nd Fighter Group

Leibfarth, Russell John, Col, (1942-1966) M10 M 1055 [Other Service Rank]
Mason, Joe Lennard, Col, (1937-1967) M10 M 1055 Colonel
Stewart, Everett Wilson, Col, (1938-1966) M10 M 1055 Major
Andrew, Stephen Wallace, Lt Col, (1935-1951) M10 M 1055 Captain
Bostrom, Ernest Olof, Capt, (1942-1945) M10 M 1055 Captain
Cesky, Charles James, Lt Col, (1942-1970) M10 M 1055 Captain
Davis, Clayton Eugene, Lt Col, (1942-1970) M10 M 1055 Captain
Lazear, Earl Ray, Capt, (1941-1945) M10 M 1055 Captain
McKibben, Donald Weldon, Capt, (1942-1945) M10 M 1055 Captain
Meroney, Virgil Kersh, Col, (1940-1970) M10 M 1055 Captain
Stangel, William James, Maj, (1942-1950) M10 M 1055 Captain
Starck, Walter Edwin, Col, (1942-1965) M10 M 1055 Captain
Dittmer, Karl Kent, Lt Col, (1942-1969) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Frascotti, Robert Charles, 1st Lt, (1942-1944) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Furr, William, 1st Lt M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Howell, Lester Lawrence, 1st Lt, (1942-1944) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Luksic, Carl John, Lt Col, (1942-1969) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Moats, Sanford Kenneth, Lt Gen, (1942-1977) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Moran, Glennon Timothy, Brig Gen, (1942-1973) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Rigby, Alden Peter, Maj, (1943-1979) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Thornell, John Francis, Lt Col, (1940-1971) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Waldron, Karl Merritt, Lt Col, (1942-1968) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Whisner, William Thomas, Col, (1942-1972) M10 M 1055 First Lieutenant
Bundy, Lincoln Delmar, 2nd Lt, (1942-1944) M10 M 1055 Second Lieutenant
Sears, Alexander Franklin, Capt, (1943-1951) M10 M 1055 Second Lieutenant
Jackson, Willie Otto, Col, (1940-1967) M10 Lieutenant Colonel
Donalson, I. B. Jack, Col, (1941-1968) 01 Major
Cutler, Frank Allen, Capt, (1942-1944) Captain
Halton, William Timothy, Col, (1941-1952) Captain
Heller, Edwin Lewis, Lt Col, (1942-1967) 01 Captain
Littge, Raymond Henry, Capt, (1942-1949) Captain
Sharp, Robert H., Capt, (1942-1944) Captain
Horne, Francis Willard, Lt Col, (1942-1971) First Lieutenant
Schuh, Duerr H., Lt Col, (1942-1968) First Lieutenant
Halton, William Timothy, Col, (1941-1952) Lieutenant Colonel
Johnson, Clarence Oscar, Capt, (1939-1944) Captain
Broadwater, Joseph Archer, 1st Lt, (1942-1944) First Lieutenant
Powell, Robert Haynes, Capt, (1942-1954) First Lieutenant
Sears, Alexander Franklin, Capt, (1943-1951) First Lieutenant
Yochim, Frederick A., Lt Col, (1939-1964) First Lieutenant
Zimms, David T., 1st Lt, (1942-1945) Second Lieutenant

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