In Memory of
Army Air Force First Lieutenant
Donald Dale Almond
Hurley, South Dakota
Turner County
July 30, 1919 – May 19, 1943
Missing in Action over eastern coast of New Guinea

Donald Dale Almond    Donald Dale Almond

Donald Dale Almond was born July 30, 1919, to Roland and Iva Almond in Hurley, South Dakota. He grew up on a farm with a younger brother and sister. Don, as he was called, attended college at South Dakota State in Brookings. At a college dance, to which area high school seniors were invited, Don met Ferne, whom he later married February 21, 1942. Donald and Ferne had a daughter, Sandra Kaye, who was born on November 15, 1942.

Donald’s widow, Ferne, remembers, “Don always liked to play poker with the boys and was pretty good at it. In fact, he said that his poker winnings paid for our wedding!”

Donald Almond entered the Army on June 16, 1941, but was honorably discharged while serving as an aviation cadet on January 8, 1942. The same day Almond was  commissioned as a second lieutenant, Air Corps Reserve, and entered active duty. Almond departed for overseas service in the Pacific on October 14, 1942.

Army First Lieutenant Donald Almond was reported as missing in action on May 19, 1943. His plane failed to return from a reconnaissance mission over the eastern coast of New Guinea. A letter written to Mrs. Almond stated:

Lt. D. Almond was a pilot in the 400th Bomb. Sq. 90th Bomb Gr. Stationed
at Port Moresby, New Guinea. He entered the squadron as a replacement pilot with
crew. He was well-liked in the squadron  and was very active. I got to know him
personally and found him to be a very good friend.

It was the morning of May 19, 1943, when he started off on a reconnasiance [sic]
mission over Japanese air bases on New Guinea and New Britain. His operator
reported their position hourly and it was six hour later when the last report came.
It was about 11 o’clock and the report was that ‘they were being attacked by Zero’s
and were on fire and going down.’ 

Immediately our squadron commander sent out a flight of three airplanes as a search
party for the lost crew, but the search was all in vain. … They went down near the
Island of Kar Kar very near the Jap base of Madang.

Mrs. Almond received confirmation of his death on December 19, 1945. Almond’s

Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight over the Huon Gulf, New Guinea, on January 8, 1943, was later presented to his widow.

Donald Dale Almond marker

This entry was respectfully submitted by Aaron Boyd, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 4, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Ferne Liebsch, Arlington, South Dakota, widow of 1st  Lt. Donald Almond.