*GOTT, DONALD J.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 729th Bomber
Squadron, 452d Bombardment Group. Place and date: Saarbrucken, Germany, 9 November
1944. Entered service at: Arnett, Okla. Born: 3 June 1923, Arnett, Okla. G.O.
No: 38, 16 May 1945.
On a bombing run upon the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken a B-17 aircraft piloted by 1st.
Lt. Gott was seriously damaged by antiaircraft fire. Three of the aircraft's engines were
damaged beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the No. 4 engine were leaping
back as far as the tail assembly. Flares in the cockpit were ignited and a fire raged
therein, which was further increased by free-flowing fluid from damaged hydraulic lines.
The interphone system was rendered useless. In addition to these serious mechanical
difficulties the engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio operator's arm was severed
below the elbow. Suffering from intense pain, 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, 1st. Lt. Gott and
his copilot conferred. Something had to be done immediately to save the life of the
wounded radio operator. The lack of a static line and the thought that his unconscious
body striking the ground in unknown territory would not bring immediate medical attention
forced a quick decision. 1st. Lt. Gott and his copilot decided to fly the flaming aircraft
to friendly territory and then attempt to crash land. Bombs were released on the target
and the crippled aircraft proceeded alone to Allied-controlled territory. When that had
been reached, 1st. Lt. Gott had the copilot personally inform all crewmembers to bail out.
The copilot chose to remain with 1st. Lt. Gott in order to assist in landing the bomber.
With only one normally functioning engine, and with the 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 3 crewmembers were instantly
killed. 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.