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Donald Prytulak
1st Lt.
Donald Prytulak
(1916 - 1989)
Pilot - Prytulak Crew 907
31 Combat Missions
Major, USAF (retired)
Life before the War
Donald Prytulak was born on 14 Dec 1916 in Darby, Connecticut. He was the son of Ukrainian immigrants. His father, a White Russian Cossack, came to America seeking refuge from the Red Army. Shortly after he was born, the Prytulak family moved to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining town near Pittsburgh.
After graduating from High School in 1934, Don went to work at Dawson's Paint & Box Shop as an apprentice auto repair/finishing man. He was earning about ten dollars per week. In 1939, Don decided he to go out and see the world. He quit his job and enlisted in the Army.
Enlistment Record
18 Sept 39: Enlisted in Regular Army; Uniontown, PA
20 Sept 39: 1st A.B. Sqd.; Langley Field, VA
2 Nov 39: 96th Bomb Sqd.; Langley Field, VA
24 Nov 39: 93rd Sch. Sqd.; Scott Field, IL
27 Dec 39: ACTS, 4th Sch. Sqd.; Chanute Field, IL
24 May 40: Graduated ACTS as Ap Mech; Chanute Field, IL
31 May 40: 96th Bomb Sqd.; Langley Field, VA
9 Sept 40: 20th Bomb Sqd.; Langley Field, VA
While Don was stationed at Langley during the 1940's, he met his future wife, Shirley. She was only sixteen. With his future mother-in-law's encouragement, Don applied to become an aviation cadet for pilot's training. He passed the test and was accepted.
After receiving his Lieutenant's commission, he married his sweetheart on 2 October 1943 at Maxwell Field, Alabama.
Officer Training Record
22 Nov 42: Army Air Forces Class Center; Nashville, TN
19 Dec 42: Pre Flt. Tng.; Maxwell Field, AL
4 Mar 43: Primary Tng, (PT-17s); Dorr Field, Arcadia, FL
4 May 43: Basic Flt. Tng. (BT-15s); Bainbridge, GA
2 July 43: AAFAFS, (AT-10s) Moody Field, Valdosta, GA
30 Aug 43: Commissioned 2nd Lt; Moody Field, Valdosta, GA
30 Aug 43: B-24 Trans. Tng.; Maxwell Field, AL
13 Nov 43: Crew Assignment Center; Salt Lake City, UT
27 Nov 43: 39th CCTS; Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, AZ
5 Jan 44: 492nd BG; Holloman AFB, Alamogordo, NM
Combat and War Service
Don and his crew were among the first crews to arrive at Alamogordo. Many of the new crews had been disbanded to form other new crews or were taken over by a senior pilot. Apparently, the command staff liked what they saw in Don as his crew remained intact. They were assigned to the 859th Squadron as as Crew 907. After three months of Group Training, the 492nd was ordered to England for combat duty. Don's wife saw him off at Alamogordo as the Group began its trek to the European Theater.
While at North Pickenham, Don was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He led his crew on twenty-eight combat missions while the Group took extremely high casualties. He got his fair share of the tough assignments. During that time he was awarded an Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters.
When the Group was disbanded in August of '44, Don took his crew to the 467th BG. They flew three more missions with them, thus completing their tour of thirty. At a later date, a review board gave them credit for an earlier uncredited mission. Crew 907 ended up with thirty-one credited combat missions. Don was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, plus was given another cluster to his Air Medal.
Crew 907 knows that they were lucky to had survived the war. But every man who served with Don are quick credit his good skills, judgement and character for getting them safely through it. Don didn't want to be a war hero. He just wanted to get back home to his bride. But in order to do that, though, he first had to do his duty, thus becoming a war hero.
Don returned to the US in August of 1944. He finished his service in the war effort as a test pilot for newer models of B-24s and B-17s while satationed at Victorville Air Force Base, California.
After the war
Since Don joined the military in 1939 "to see the world" he had no intentions of being discharged at the end of the war. He got his wish and was stationed in both Germany and Japan. In 1960 he retired at the rank of Major with over twenty-one years of service.
Don enjoyed his retirement with his wife and two daughters, and later with his grandchildren. He died on 10 Nov 1989 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, after a year-long battle with cancer.
Major Don Prytulak was indeed a special man who will always be remembered by his family, his crew and their families, and by everyone else associated with the 492nd Bomb Group.
More Info
( Coming Soon )
CCT 1096
Crew 907
by his daughter
Lorraine Williford
1 -  11 May 44
2 -  12 May 44
6 -  21 May 44
7 -  23 May 44
8 -  24 May 44
10 -  27 May 44
12 -  29 May 44
14 -  31 May 44
17 -  06 June 44
19 -  06 June 44
20 -  08 June 44
23 -  11 June 44
26 -  14 June 44
28 -  15 June 44
34 -  20 June 44
36 -  21 June 44
41 -  27 June 44
42 -  28 June 44
48 -  11 July 44
49 -  12 July 44
51 -  16 July 44
52 -  18 July 44
56 -  24 July 44
57 -  25 July 44
58 -  29 July 44
59 -  31 July 44
62 -  04 Aug 44
64 -  05 Aug 44
65 -  06 Aug 44
( Coming Soon )
467th BG
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Page last modified Wednesday, June 22, 2011.