Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

Donald Dale Pucket

  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    343d Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group,
    8th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 9, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Ploesti, Rumania
He took part in a highly effective attack against vital oil installations in Ploesti on 9 July 1944. Just after "bombs away," the plane received heavy and direct hits from antiaircraft fire. One crewmember was instantly killed and six others severely wounded. The airplane was badly damaged, two were knocked out, the controls 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. First Lt. Pucket urged the others to jump. Ignoring their entreaties to follow, he refused to abandon the three hysterical men and was last seen fighting to regain control of the plane. A few moments later the flaming bomber crashed on a mountainside. First Lt. Pucket, unhesitatingly and with supreme sacrifice, gave his life in his courageous attempt to save the lives of three others.
Medal of Honor Recipient Donald D. Pucket
Medal of Honor Recipient Donald D. Pucket
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 12, 1945
    At his home in Boulder, Colorado presented by Brig. Gen. Boran to his widiw Mrs. Lorene Joyce Pucket
  • Born: December 19, 1915, Longmont, Boulder County, CO, United States
  • Died: July 9, 1944, Over Ploesti, Rumania
  • Buried: Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (MH) (One of six in group burial) (84-270-271-272), St. Louis, MO, United States

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