1Lt DONALD D. PUCKET
98th , Bombardment Group
Over Ploesti, Romania
9 July 1944
On the return flight from an exceptionally successful raid on the Oil Fields at Ploesti, 1Lt Pucket’s aircraft took several direct hits German FLAK batteries.
One crewmember was instantly killed and 6 others severely wounded.
The airplane was badly damaged, the flight controls damaged, the oxygen system ignited and the bomb bay flooded with gas and hydraulic fluid.
1Lt. Pucket gave flight control to his co-pilot and moved to the rear of the aircraft to administer aid to his crew and assess the damage to his bird.
Using the hand crank to open the bomb bay doors, he drained the fuel flooding the compartment, then ordered all guns and ammo to be jettisoned to lighten the aircraft. The plane continued to lose altitude rapidly.
Realizing that it was impossible to reach friendly territory 1Lt Pucket gave the “bailout” order. Three of the crew were in hysterical shock and refused to jump.
Pucket ordered the rest of the crew to egress but he refused to leave three of his men to die. Pucket was last seen trying to put the aircraft flaming aircraft down.
He was unsuccessful and gave his life trying to save his 3 subordinates… the flaming bomber crashed on a mountainside.
No greater love.