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Donald G. White, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Force
Missing In Action, February 23, 1943.
 

A P-38 fighter of the type flown by 1st Lt. Donald G. White, USAAF, World War II.  

"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

Donald Griffith White

Donald G. White, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Force, Serial 0-730689, 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group. Donald G. White, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces, 0-730689, 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group. Entered the Service from Kansas. Finding of Death: December 15, 1945. Missing in Action: February 23, 1943. Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart.

"Don was born on February 12, 1919, the eldest child of Harry and Ruth White. He grew up in Comanche County, attending Sunnyside country school, and graduating from Coldwater High School with the class of 1937. After graduation he became involved full time in the family farming and cattle operation. Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve in January, 1942, and a month later entered pre-flight training at Santa Ana, California. He was graduated from Luke Field at Phoenix, Arizona, in September, and received his second lieutenant commission. He then volunteered for training in the P-38 fighter plane, and received his training on the west coast. On December 15, Don flew to Honolulu, and from there, joined with other members of the 339th Fighter Squadron, being formed in New Caledonia. On February 23, 1943, while on a mission to accompany bombers on a raid over Bougainville, his plane was hit, and he was listed as missing in action. Don was 24 years of age. Each family member remembers him in different ways, but always... with love. -- Ruth White and Family, Comanche County History

Squadron Patch of the 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, U.S. Army Air Force.  CLICK HERE to read a history of the squadron. "We had eight children, Donald, Jack, Betty, Wayne, Robert, Catharine, Georgianna and James. Very much a part of our story was WWII, and the loss of our oldest son, Donald. He was a fighter pilot, flying a P-38, and was reported missing in action February 23, 1943. Sadly, this was an experience shared by several other families in the county". -- Ruth White (CCH, page 749)

At right: 339th Fighter Squadron patch, 1942. "The 339th Fighter Squadron was activated on 3 October 1942 and assigned to the 347th Fighter Group throughout WWII. They operated from Henderson Field , Guadalcanal until 29 December 1943; Sterling Island, 15 January 1944; Sanpor, New Guinea, 15 August 1944; and moving to two more bases before ending up in California on 30 December 1945." -- www.flightsuits.com

"December 29 1943: The 339th Fighter Squadron, stationed in New Caledonia since Oct. 3 1942, moves to Guadalcanal. Detachments had been flying out of Guadalcanal since Oct. 3 1942." -- 13th AAF History. The 339th Squadron is listed in the U.S. Army Battle Participation List for Guadacanal.

Donald G. White was the son of Harry White and Ruth Griffith. His paternal grandparents were William White and Georgianna Clark, who came to Comanche County from Kentucky. His maternal grandparents were Charles Griffith, born in Iowa, and Mary Slobohm, who came to Kansas from West Virginia in 1886.



The Western Star, February 6, 1942.

Enlists in Air Corps.

Donald White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry White of Coldwater, went to Wichita on Thursday of last week and enlisted as a cadet in the Army Air Corps. He passed the required examinations and tests there and was sent on to Baker's Field, Calif., to begin active training.


The Western Star, March 6, 1942:

WILL BE A FLYER

Donald White, who a few weeks ago passed a number of tests at Wichita in order to get into the air corps, writes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry White, that he has now passed all the many mental and physical tests at the Bakersfield air corps training school at Santa Ana, Calif. And the tests were plenty tough, he adds. So now he will be an air cadet and will realize his dream of many years---that of being a pilot.


The Western Star, October 23, 1942

"The Letter Box", From Lt. Donald G. White:

Following is a letter from Donald White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry White, to his parents. Donald is in the air corps and writes from Glendale, Calif.

October 7, 1942.

Dear Folks,

Well, I've been around quite a bit since I last wrote you. On Monday before graduation they called us out at 1:30 p.m. and asked us to volunteer to get twin engine time if we wanted to fly P-38s. so I volunteered, and they sent us over to Williams Field that same afternoon, and we graduated in our overalls on the flight line during lunch hour the next day.

We got back to Luke Field Saturday, and the rest of the fellows had already been sent on to the different places, and we got sent out of there Saturday evening.

We drove up to March Field Monday afternoon, and Tuesday afternoon they gave us orders to report here at Glendale and we are going to fly what is said to be the best airplane in the world. This is about five or six miles from Los Angeles and Hollywood. We will leave for Muroe Lake, about 60 miles northeast of here, for six weeks training, and then be sent back here to patrol the coast. My friend Webber and I are in the same squadron.

How is silo filling this year? Are you going to get the silo as full as you did last year?

Must close now. Will mail you the wings sometime this week, Mom.

Love, Don.


The Western Star , February 26, 1943.
LIEUT. DONALD WHITE MISSING IN ACTION
Has Been With Fighter Squadron Since December.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry White of Coldwater received the following telegram Wednesday morning from the War Department: Washington, D.C. Feb. 23. "The Secretary of War desires me to express our deep regret that the Commanding General, United States Army Force in South Pacific area, has reported your son, Second Lieutenant Donald G. White, air corps, missing in action. Additional information will be sent when received. THE ADJUTANT GENERAL."

Lieut. White enlisted in the Army Air Corps February 11, 1942, and after completing his training left the United States December 15 for combat duty. His parents and many friends here anxiously await further word from him.


The Western Star, March 5, 1943.
LIEUT. DONALD WHITE STILL LISTED MISSING
Had Been piloting P-38s Since Being Commissioned

Lieut. Donald G. White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry White, is still listed as missing, no further word having come from the War Department since their message to the parents dated February 23, as printed last week. Friends and relatives here are anxiously awaiting further news concerning him.

Lieut. White enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve in January, 1942, and a month later entered his pre-flight training at Santa Ana, Calif. He was graduated from Luke Field, at Phoenix, Ariz., the latter part of last September, and received his second lieutenant commission. Donald then volunteered for training in the P-38 fighter plane and took this training on the west coast. The P-38 is a very fast one man plane equipped with seven or eight machine guns.

On December 15 Donald flew to Honolulu and soon afterward went on to the Australia war zone. In a letter dated February 5, Donald wrote to his parents, in part: "Some other pilots here who know Ralph Sooter say that he is coming here before long. --- I even have a one man life raft attached to my parachute. Tell the kids if I ever get back to Australia I will send some souvenirs."

Lieut. White was 24 years of age on February 12.


The Missing Air Crew Report for Lt. Donald G. White is MACR# 583. Plane: P-38, Group: 347. The following copy is courtesy of Paul Roales.

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Photo .
Missing Air Crew Report for Lt. Donald G. White, MACR# 583
This copy from the National Archives is courtesy of Paul Roales.


Harry Thomas White, father of Lt. Donald Griffith White, USAAF.

Documents from a P-38 Crash, courtesy of Paul Roales.

JPAC http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/index.php?rd=1 is a government agency (Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command) located in Hawaii which is responsible for identifying WW2, Korean War and Vietnam MIA remains.

Paul Roales is seeking to contact the family of Donald G. White to see if they would be willing to donate a DNA sample to JPAC for possible use in identifying the remains of a pilot from a P-38 crash site which may be those of Lt. Donald G. White so that the remains can be returned to the pilot's family for burial.

Type the address you see to send e-mail to Paul Roales.


The above news articles were transcribed for this site by Shirley Brier.

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This page was last updated 17 May 2008.

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