In Memory of
U.S. Army Air Force 1st Lieutenant
Donald Lee Beals
Brookings, S.D.
Brookings County
September 27, 1922 Ė April 17, 1945
Killed in Action near Dresden, Germany

Donald Lee Beals

On September 27,1922 Clara Ruth and Daniel Levi Beals had a son named Donald Lee Beals. His hometown was Brookings, S.D., and he attended Brookings schools and State College. Donald Beals played football, basketball, and baseball while in high school. He graduated from high school on May 22, 1941 and then attended the State College for engineering for a short period, before joining the U.S. Air Corps. Although Beals didnít marry, he had planned to marry his high school sweetheart, Pricilla Hill, after the war. According to his family and friends he was always happy and carefree.

Beals enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on January 7, 1944. He trained in Kelly Field and at Foster Field, both in Texas. Some additional training he did was to become a fighter pilot. Beals rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th fighter group SE. Lieutenant Beals was stationed at a Richmond, Virginia airbase, before he moved to an airbase in England, and finally to Belgium. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, was involved in armed reconnaissance missions, and strafing, when the fighter planes dove down and shot the enemy soldiers so the American infantry could advance.

Donald Lee Beals perished 46 miles north of Dresden, Germany.  He flew a P-47 Thunderbolt, fighter plane, on a mission to Dresden, Germany, and on the way, they spotted enemy planes on the ground.  They decided to advance. His fighter was neither seen nor contacted again. The army believes that anti-aircraft fire got him. Donald Beals was determined missing in action on April 17, 1945. There is a marker at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium with his name on it. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart.

The survivors at the time of Donaldís death were Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Beals, his mother and father, brother, Charles O. Beals, and sister, Meryl Tabner

This profile is respectfully submitted by Kevin Hendrickx, sixth grader, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings SD. The information for this profile came from Meryl B. Tabner sister to Donald Beals of Toledo, OH, Charles O. Beals brother to Donald Beals of Reseda, CA, Oscar Emly and Fern Otteson cousins of Donald. George Norby, of Images of the Past, Brookings, SD provided articles from the Brookings County Press, 5/3/45 and 8/2/45. Brookings resident Don Hind, also provided information.