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First Name: Damon

Last Name: Gause

Birthplace: Fort Valley, GA, USA

Gender: Male

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

Middle Name: Jesse

Date of Birth: 17 June 1915

Date of Death: 09 March 1944

Rank: Major

Years Served:
Damon Jesse Gause

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Damon Jesse Gause
Major, U.S. Army Air Forces

Damon Jesse Gause was born on 17 June 1915 in Fort Valley, GA. He graduated from the Martin Institute High School, and attended the University of Georgia. Nicknamed "Rocky," his colleagues and friends considered him a warm, caring person, with a good sense of humor, quick to accept a challenge, and one who championed an underdog. Finding college studies boring, he liked to spend his afternoons at the local airfield, where he began to take flying lessons.

After one year of college, he dropped out and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as a Radioman on the USCG Cutter Argo. After three years, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he served in Panama. Three years later, he left the Army to work for the Texaco Oil Company in its oil fields in Columbia, until 1939 when he returned to Georgia.

In early 1941, he enlisted again in the Army Air Corps (which became the Army Air Forces on 20 June 1941), this time qualifying for flight training. He received his wings as a pilot and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Kelly Field, TX, and assigned to the 27th Bombardment Group in Savannah, GA, where he trained on A-24 dive-bombers.

In late November 1941, the 27th Bomb Group was reassigned to the Philippine Islands, arriving just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December. When American forces abandoned Manila, he went with them to Bataan. Lacking aircraft, he was given command of a machine gun company. When Bataan surrendered, he was taken to a POW camp, where he escaped after killing a guard, and swam to the American-held island of Corregidor. When Corregidor fell to the Japanese on 6 May 1942, Gause and a fellow Filipino pilot swam for the Luzon shore, six miles away.

Only Gause made it and, with the aid of Filipino natives, he continued his escape. Joining another American, Captain William Lloyd Osborne, the two men stole a boat from the Japanese and sailed 3,200 miles to Australia. After a year of promoting war bonds and being hailed as a hero, he volunteered to return to active service at the front lines. In 1943, he was assigned to the 365th Fighter Group, and was shipped to England. Given P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, they trained for low altitude dive-bombing missions in preparation for the upcoming Normandy Invasion. On 9 March 1944, Major Gause was killed while test-flying a modified P-47 south of London near the Isle of Wright. He was testing the plane for its future mission in close air support for the Allied Invasion of Normandy.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal


While in Savannah, GA, Gause met and married Ruth Evans on 11 October 1941; they had one son, Damon Lance Gause.

Death and Burial

Major Damon Jesse Gause died on 9 March 1944 in England. He is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Coton, Cambridgeshire, England.

Honoree ID: 2542   Created by: MHOH




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