Gott -- 1st Lt Donald J Gott


Donald Gott joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps as a private at Hartford, Conn. in September 1942, and reported for active duty the following March. He took flying training at fields in California and Arizona, getting his wings and commission in January 1944.

Gott completed four-engine transition training at Hobbs Field, N.M., three months later and went to England to fly B-17 bombers for the 452nd Bomb Group's 729th Squadron. His first mission, Aug. 25, was a strike against enemy installations at Politz, Germany. He flew 26 others over Northern France and Germany until meeting his death Nov. 9, 1944, after a bombing run on the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken.

For his loyalty to his crew determination to accomplish his mission, and self-sacrifice, Lieutenant Gott was awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation, in part reads: "... Over the yards, the B-17 piloted by Lieutenant Gott was seriously damaged by antiaircraft fire. Three engines were damaged beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the number 4 engine were leaping back as far as the tail assembly . . . fire raged throughout the cockpit. . . the interphone system was rendered useless. The engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio operator's arm was severed below the elbow . . . despite the application of a tourniquet, the radio operator fell unconscious. Faced with the imminent explosion of his aircraft and death to his entire crew, mere seconds before bombs away on the target Lieutenant Gott and his copilot conferred and decided to fly the flaming aircraft to friendly territory and try to save the life of the wounded radio operator. Bombs were released on the target and the crippled aircraft proceeded alone to Allied controlled territory. When that had been reached, crew members were told to bail out. The copilot chose to remain with Lieutenant Gott in order to assist in landing the bomber. With only one normally functioning engine, and with 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 three crew members were killed instantly. Lieutenant Gott's loyalty to his crew and last service to his country was an example of valor at its highest."

See the
full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.