Sunday, March 18, 2018

WW 2 Fallen - B-26 gunner Donald Field and his brother Ernest, 36th Infantry Division

S/Sgt. Donald Field was a gunner in the 456th Bombardment Squadron.
His brother Pvt. Ernest Field served with the 36th Infantry Division in Italy.
Donald D. Field never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on March 18, 1918 in Wyoming. His parents Donald and Martha were both born in Utah. His father worked as a farmer and later as a garage proprietor and auto mechanic. Donald had four younger sisters and three younger brothers. By 1940 Donald had completed four years of high school and was living at home and working as a mechanic in his father's garage. 

He was drafted into the army on August 9, 1942. He volunteered for the Army Air Forces and became a gunner and a staff sergeant in the 456th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force which was equipped with B-26 Marauders.

Brother Ernest, five years Donald's junior, became a private in the 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division (nicknamed "Arrowhead").  The 36th ID took a key role in the invasion of Italy at Salerno in September 1943. It suffered more than 4,000 losses in its first major action. Pvt. Field likely joined his unit in the fall as a replacement. In late January the 36th ID again took heavy casualties trying to establish a bridgehead across the Gari River - nearly 1,700 lost in a 48 hour period. With most of the losses taken in the 141st and 143rd IRs, Pvt. Field's 142 IR had to take a lead role as the division dealt with the defeat. The 142nd was advancing on Mt. Cairo when Pvt. Field went missing in action on February 5, 1944, a time with relatively little fighting. His body has never been recovered.

Donald would have heard about his missing brother while at his airbase at Earls Colne in England. His bomb squadron focused on tactical bombing missions in France to disrupt German transportation and V1 launch sites. On June 29, 1944 Sgt. Field was a gunner in the B-26 Classie Lassie. It crashed near Omonville-la-Rogue in Normandy. All five crewmen died. His gravestone says the date was June 27, 1944 which may be in error.

His grave is at Lyman City Cemetery in Lyman, Wyoming.

Thank you Donald and Ernest for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for the Field brothers. Their parents actually lost three sons, they had one die in infancy in 1928.

Last year on this date I profiled decorated torpedo bomber pilot Edward DeGramo. You can read about Edward here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

I created this video to explain why I started this project:

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

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“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

1 comment:

  1. From Brian Gibbons via the B-26 Marauders Facebook page: The loss of Donald Field and 41-31840 is covered by MACR 6216. Unfortunately the primary page lists the aircraft as 41-34 840, but other pages list it correctly. The date was 29th June, with the target for this aircraft being Digulleville Gun Positions. The 323rd attacked 2 targets with 18 aircraft on each target. The other target was Auderville Gun Positions.