1Lt DONALD J. GOTT
729th Bomber Squadron,
452nd Bombardment Group.
Over Saarbrucken, Germany
9 Nov 1944
Lt. Gott was “Pilot in Command” of a B-17 on a bombing run over Saarbrucken, Germany when they were hit by enemy FLAK. The B-17 was seriously damaged and 3 of her 4 engines aflame with fire reaching back as far as the horizontal Stabilizer. The fire set of flares in the cockpit which in turn set the gushing hydraulic oil aflame as well. The intercom system was in-op and the aircraft was mechanically unsound.
On top of all that, the Flight Engineer was wounded in the lower body and the Radio Operator’s arm had been severed by shrapnel. Faced with the imminent death to his entire crew, Lt Gott dropped his bombload – ON TARGET, then made a run back toward friendly territory hoping to make a controlled crash landing and get medical help for his crew.
Once in allied airspace, Gott ordered the rest of the crew to Bail-out while he and his CO-pilot remained. 1st. Lt. Gott had the copilot personally inform all crewmembers to bail out.
With only one engine, Gott banked the aircraft into a final approach on an open field.
The Crippled B-17 exploded at approx 100 feet AGL killing Gott and the wounded crewmen he was trying to save.
The last line of Donald Gott’s Medal of Honor citation sums it up..
“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.”