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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Pucket

Birthplace: Longmont, CO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: Boulder, CO
Middle Name: Dale

Date of Birth: 15 December 1915

Date of Death: 09 July 1944

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942 - 1944
Donald Dale Pucket

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Donald Dale Pucket

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

First Lieutenant Donald Dale Pucket (15 December 1915 - 9 July 1944) was a U.S. Army Air Forces officer and pilot who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II.

Donald Dale Pucket was born on 15 December 1915 in Longmont, CO. He joined the Army Air Forces from Boulder, CO. On 9 July 1944, he was a First Lieutenant piloting bombers with the 98th Bombardment Group. During a raid that day over Ploie┼čti, Romania, his airplane was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. He ordered his crew to abandon the craft, but three men were too frightened to parachute out. Pucket voluntarily stayed behind with the men and unsuccessfully tried to regain control of the plane. The aircraft crashed into a mountainside, killing all onboard. For his selfless act of heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 98th Bombardment Group.

Place and date: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, 9 July 1944.

Citation: He took part in a highly effective attack against vital oil installation in Ploesti, Rumania, on 9 July 1944. Just after "bombs away," the plane received heavy and direct hits from antiaircraft fire. One crewmember was instantly killed and 6 others severely wounded. The airplane was badly damaged, 2 were knocked out, the control cables cut, the oxygen system on fire, and the bomb bay flooded with gas and hydraulic fluid. Regaining control of his crippled plane, 1st Lt. Pucket turned its direction over to the copilot. He calmed the crew, administered first aid, and surveyed the damage. Finding the bomb bay doors jammed, he used the hand crank to open them to allow the gas to escape. He jettisoned all guns and equipment but the plane continued to lose altitude rapidly. Realizing that it would be impossible to reach friendly territory he ordered the crew to abandon ship. Three of the crew, uncontrollable from fright or shock, would not leave. 1st Lt. Pucket urged the others to jump. Ignoring their entreaties to follow, he refused to abandon the 3 hysterical men and was last seen fighting to regain control of the plane. A few moments later the flaming bomber crashed on a mountainside. 1st Lt. Pucket, unhesitatingly and with supreme sacrifice, gave his life in his courageous attempt to save the lives of 3 others.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Air Medal (3)

Death and Burial

First Lieutenant Donald Dale Pucket was killed in action on 9 July 1944. He is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

Honoree ID: 1609   Created by: MHOH




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