Backlund, Donald Roy, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1979-1979, 1021A, Air Training Command
Service Years
1971 - 1979
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

12 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Backlund, Donald Roy, Maj.

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
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Last Address
New Mexico

Date of Passing
Aug 29, 1979
Location of Interment
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: 003 B 014

 Official Badges 

Combat Rescue Officer Combat Crew Air Training Command Instructor (post-1966)

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
In the Line of DutyAir Force Memorial (AFM)
  2014, In the Line of Duty
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

He was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions during the operation to rescue the crew of the SS Mayaguez in Apr 1975. He was attending A-10A Thunderbolt II conversion training when he was killed during an A-10 training flight at the Gila Bend Gunnery Range in Gila Bend, AZ. At the time of his death, he was getting ready for his next assignment as an A-10 pilot with the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Woodbridge, England. He was posthumously promoted to Major, and was buried at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on Sep 5, 1979.  

His AF Cross citation reads:
Awarded for actions during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to First Lieutenant Donald R. Backlund, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander of an HH-53 Helicopter of the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action on 15 May 1975 at Koh Tang Island, Cambodia. On that date, while engaged in the recovery of the S.S. MAYAGUEZ and crew, Lieutenant Backlund, exhibiting superb airmanship, placed a contingent of United States Marines aboard the destroyer escort, U.S.S. HOLT. He then successfully landed several United States Marines on Koh Tang Island despite intense ground fire. After escorting his wingman to the U.S.S. CORAL SEA, Lieutenant Backlund then returned to Koh Tang Island and successfully recovered a group of United States Marines and airmen although encountering heavy, consistent ground fire. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Lieutenant Backlund reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-583 (July 14, 1975)

Action Date: May 15, 1975

Service: Air Force

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Division: Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand


Other Comments:
 Photo Album   (More...

  1979-1979, 1021A, Air Training Command

From Month/Year
April / 1979
To Month/Year
August / 1979
Air Training Command Unit Page
Not Specified
Not Specified
 Air Training Command Details

Air Training Command
Garrison - Training Command
Parent Unit
School Assignments
Formal School
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Sep 4, 2018
Memories For This Unit

Other Memories
He attended A-10A Thunderbolt II conversion training from Apr1979 until he was killed during an A-10 training flight at the Gila Bend Gunnery Range in Gila Bend, Arizona, Aug 29, 1979. He was posthumously promoted to Major, and was buried at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on September 5, 1979. At the time of his death, he was getting ready for his next assignment as an A-10 pilot with the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Woodbridge, England.

My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
40 Members Also There at Same Time
Air Training Command

Brown, Norma Elaine, Maj Gen, (1951-1982) 9X 91C Major General
Egbert, Edward, Lt Col, (1963-1983) 229 2295Z Lieutenant Colonel
Pethtel,, Kermit B., Maj, (1959-1980) 304 3041D Major
Youngblood, Susan, Maj, (1973-1993) 514 5144B Captain
Boudreaux, Fred, Capt, (1970-1993) 513 5131B First Lieutenant
Bouley, Joe, Lt Col, (1977-2000) 6 0006 Second Lieutenant
Burrill, Gordon, Maj, (1965-1993) 301 3016 Second Lieutenant
Turpin, Robert, SMSgt, (1956-1981) 991 99120 Senior Master Sergeant
Rivera, Henry, 1stSgt, (1975-1987) 100 10090 First Sergeant (E-7)
Torres, Pedro, MSgt, (1972-1996) 3A 3A0X1 Master Sergeant
Conroy, Joseph, MSgt, (1961-1981) 423 42390 Master Sergeant
Fleming, Karl, CMSgt, (1956-1985) 702 70270 Master Sergeant
Gorman, Richard, MSgt, (1962-1982) 791 79170 Master Sergeant
Shively, Charles, MSgt, (1960-1980) 544 54490 Master Sergeant
Calvert, Ken, 1stSgt, (1971-1991) 811 81172 Technical Sergeant
Allen, Russ, SSgt, (1976-1983) 570 57070 Staff Sergeant
Brown, Nancy, SSgt, (1975-1982) 302 30270 Staff Sergeant
Cope, Ken, SSgt, (1976-1981) 812 81250A Staff Sergeant
Culver, Kelley, Maj, (1972-1995) 511 51170 Staff Sergeant
Czerniejewski, Mike, TSgt, (1971-1985) 990 99000 Staff Sergeant
Davey, Floyd, MSgt, (1974-1996) 999 99999 Staff Sergeant
Martin, Robert, MSgt, (1973-1993) 431 43171A Staff Sergeant
Stewart, William, SSgt, (1976-1982) 272 27250 Staff Sergeant
Vause, Jim, SSgt, (1967-1992) 431 43151 Staff Sergeant
Adams, Darla, SSgt, (1976-1984) 812 81230 Sergeant
Cunningham, Tony, TSgt, (1974-1994) 571 57150 Sergeant
Cunningham, Tony, TSgt, (1974-1994) 571 57150 Sergeant
MAESTAS, SOFIA, TSgt, (1975-1994) 741 74170 Sergeant
Manzi, Michael, Sgt, (1977-1981) 431 43131C Airman 1st Class
Jarvis, Emmett C., Sgt, (1978-1984) 811 81152 Airman 1st Class
Hicks, Timothy, SSgt, (1979-1991) 571 57130 Airman Basic
Shaw, Steve, SSgt, (1978-1987) 423 42350 Airman Basic
Bolstad, Richard Eugene, Col, (1948-1979) 111 Second Lieutenant
Miskell, Mark, TSgt, (1973-1983) 00 Technical Sergeant
Buroff, Stuart Walter, CMSgt, (1950-1979) [Other Service Rank]
Sullenberger, Chesley Burnett, Capt, (1973-1980) [Other Service Rank]
Vojvodich, Mele, Maj Gen, (1950-1983) Brigadier General
Borosky, Gary, SMSgt, (1970-1990) Senior Master Sergeant
DeMalade, William, TSgt, (1959-1979) Technical Sergeant
Johnson, Larry, SMSgt, (1973-1993) Staff Sergeant
Blake, Kevin, Sgt, (1975-1979) Sergeant

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