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B-17G-35VE Serial Number: 42-97904
2nd Lt. Donald J. Gott
Congressional Medal Of Honor
Killed In Action near
Hattonville, France, on 9 November, 1944, aboard the B-17G-35VE,
Sn: 42-97904, named: 'The Lady Jeannette.' Lt. Gott was the pilot aboard the bomber assigned to the
729th Bombardment Squadron (H), 452nd Bombardment Group (H), 45th Combat Wing, 3rd Air Division,
8th United States Army Air Force, Station 142, Deopham Green, England.
GOTT, DONALD J. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps,
729th Bomber Squadron,
452nd Bombardment Group. Place and date: Saarbrucken, Germany, 9 November 1944.
Entered service at: Arnett Okla. Born: 3 June 1923, Arnett, Okla. G.O. No.: 38, 16 May 1945.
Citation: On a bombing run upon the marshaling yards at
Saarbrucken a B-17 aircraft piloted by
1st Lt. Gott was seriously damaged by antiaircraft fire. Three of the aircraft's engines were damaged
beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the No. 4 engine were leaping back as far as the
tail assembly. Flares in the cockpit were ignited and a fire raged within, which was further increased
by free-flowing fluid from damaged hydraulic lines. The interphone system was rendered useless. In
addition to these serious mechanical difficulties the engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio
operator's arm was severed below the elbow. Suffering from intense pain, despite the application of
a tourniquet, the radio operator fell unconscious. Faced with the imminent explosion of his aircraft,
and the death of his entire crew, mere seconds before bombs away on the target, 1st Lt. Gott and his
copilot conferred. Something had to be dome immediately to save the life of the wounded radio
operator. The lack of a static line and the thought of his unconscious body striking the ground in
unknown territory would not bring immediate medical attention forced a quick decision. 1st Lt. Gott
and his copilot decided to fly the flaming aircraft to friendly territory and then attempt to crash land.
Bombs were released on target and the crippled aircraft proceeded alone to Allied-controlled territory.
When that had been reached, 1st Lt. Gott had the copilot personally inform all crewmembers to bail
out. The copilot chose to remain with 1st Lt. Gott in order to assist in landing the bomber. With only
one normally functioning engine, and with the danger of explosion much greater, the aircraft banked
into an open field, and when it was at an altitude of 100 feet it exploded, crashed, exploded again and
then disintegrated. All 3 crewmembers were instantly killed. 1st Lt. Gott's loyalty to his crew, his
determination to accomplish the task set forth to him, and his deed of knowingly performing what
may have been his last service to his country was an example of valor at its highest.
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