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Donald Septimus Bryan

Military

Lieutenant Colonel O-5 - U.S. Air Force
Veteran of:
U.S. Army Air Forces 1942-1947
U.S. Air Force 1947-1964
World War II 1942-1945
Cold War 1945-1964

Tribute:
Donald S. Bryan was born on August 15, 1921, in Hollister, California. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 6, 1942, and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and awarded his pilot wings at Luke Field, Arizona, on July 26, 1942. After pilot training, Lt. Bryan completed P-40 Warhawk transition training from July to October 1942, followed by service as a P-40 pilot with the 304th Fighter Squadron of the 337th Fighter Group at Drew Field and, then, Sarasota Army Airfield, Florida, from October 1942 to March 1943. His next assignment was as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group at Mitchel Field, New York, from March to June 1943.

Lt. Bryan was, then, sent to England as a combat fighter pilot with the 352nd Fighter Group, from July 1943 to May 1945. During this time, he was credited with the destruction of 13.333 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 4 more damaged in the air. He served as Commander of the 328th Fighter Squadron from January to April 1945.
On 2 Nov 1944, Major Bryon became a fighter pilot "Ace" in one day, attacking and breaking up a much larger force of approximately 50 German fighter planes, with a total of 6 air victories, with five shot down on that day, and with two more damaged. For that battle, he received the nation's second highest honor, The Distinguished Service Cross, and finished the war, as a double Ace with 13.33 aerial victories.

- Don Bryan died, 15-May-2012, and was buried at the Christ Episcopal Church Urn Garden in Valdosta, Georgia.

Donald Bryan's Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:

For extraordinary heroism, while serving as a squadron flight leader pilot of his P-51 airplane on a bomber escort mission over Miersberg, Germany, 2 November 1944. On this date, while Capt. Bryan was leading his flight of P-51s in escort of our heavy bombers, he observed a large formation of approximately fifty enemy fighter aircraft below him, coming in to attack his bombers. Captain Bryan immediately led his formation, diving down on the German fighters, and leading them into the center of the large formation of enemy aircraft, where he closed on one ME-109 and hit it several times with his .50 cal. guns, destroying it. He immediately pulled up, looking for more enemy aircraft to attack, and did shoot down two more German fighters, just barely evading another one who nearly shot him out of the air. Now alone and in the midst of the formation of enemy airplanes, who were attacking his smaller group of P-51s aggressively and vigorously, Capt. Bryan made another pass from astern at eight ME-109's, shooting two down in flames, and damaging another. Still outnumbered and low on ammunition, Bryan continued to fight with the enemy, while being simultaneously attacked, himself. Before the fight was over, he shot down and destroyed five enemy aircraft, and damaged two others, having engaged the last enemy plane with but a single one of his .50 cal. guns, still operating. His courage and outstanding aggressiveness in the presence of great danger were exemplary of the highest traditions of the Army Air Forces.

Awards : DSC, DFC (2OLC), AM (14OLC), WWll Victory, EAME (5 x Battle Stars).

Note : The P-51 3/4 scale model in The Mighty 8th Air Force Museum, is copy of one of Don Bryan's planes. He named each of his P-51s, Little One, in honor of his wife.

Service

People

  • Donald Bryan

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | P-47 - P-51 Fighter Pilot | 352nd Fighter Group
    Lieutenant Colonel O-5 - U.S. Air Force ...

  • Kirke Noyes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Crew Chief | 352nd Fighter Group
    Kirke Noyes served as Crew Chief with the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group. He was Crew Chief for Don S Bryan's aircraft. ...

Show more

Units served with

  • 352nd Fighter Group

    352nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 352nd Fighter Group were based at Bodney, Norfolk from July 1943 until November 1945 but in the winter months of 1944/1945 detachments moved to bases in Belgium to provide extra air support to ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge and to...

  • 328th Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Associated Place

  • Bodney

    Military site : airfield
    Before the Americans arrived Bodney was a grass-surfaced airfield. So when the 352nd Fighter Group arrived with heavy P-47 Thunderbolts, work was carried out to strengthen its roads and runways with steel matting, concrete and tarmac. Nissen huts also...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Paicines, California 15 August 1921
Promoted from Second to First Lieutenant 26 July 1942
Promoted from First Lieutenant to Captain 31 January 1944
Served as Squadron Commander January 1945 – April 1945

328th Fighter Squadron

Promoted from Captain to Major 7 April 1945
Ended Tour of Duty 24 April 1945
Died Adel, GA, USA 15 May 2012
Buried Christ Episcopal Church Urn Garden Valdosta, Lowndes County, GA 26 May 2012

Christ Episcopal Church Urn Garden
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 November 2021 09:41:39 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname, biography, events and unit associations
Sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/90419188/donald-septimus-bryan

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 10:25:13 Kickapoo Changes to events
Sources

Find-A-Grave Memorial - Donald Septimus Bryan

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 10:17:54 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Punctuation. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 10:07:54 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Details added for accuracy and clarity. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 09:51:29 Kickapoo Changes to biography and media associations
Sources

Details added for accuracy and clarity. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 08:47:21 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 08:41:44 Kickapoo Changes to biography and events
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 07:55:17 Kickapoo Changes to role
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 07:24:56 Kickapoo Changes to biography and awards
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 06:40:48 Kickapoo Changes to biography and person associations
Sources

Veteran Tributes - Honoring Those Who Served - Lt. Col. Donald S. Bryan

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2021 06:26:17 Kickapoo Changes to middlename, role and biography
Sources

Veteran Tributes Honoring Those Who Served - Lt. Col. Donald S. Bryan

Date Contributor Update
08 June 2015 17:00:56 Lucy May Changes to events, person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

Findagrave record: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=bryan&GSfn=donald&...

Date Contributor Update
08 June 2015 16:55:00 Lucy May Changes to service number, biography, awards, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations
Sources

Combined two entries for Donald S Bryan into a single entry. This entry now includes information from the following sources:
Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Also used:
VeteransTributes,org: http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=114
Article posted on the Preddy Foundation website: http://www.preddy-foundation.org/memorials/lieutenant-colonel-don-bryan/
Jerry Scutts - 'Aces and Pilots of the US 8th/9th Air Forces' (2001), p. 151.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:07:42 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Fighter Aces of the U. S. A. and Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force

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