39th Bomb Group (VH)


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1st Lt Davin E. Donovan

After graduating from Coshocton High School in 1941, Donovan worked for Goodyear until 1943, and then entered the Army Air Corps. He began with basic training at Keesler Field, Mississippi and then assigned to Radio Mechanics School in Chicago. From there he advanced to Aviation Cadet training and was sent to navigational school in Hondo, Texas. Upon graduation he was given radar navigation training in Boca Raton, Florida. He was then assigned to the 39th Bomb Group at Salina, Kansas where he joined the crew of P-32 as navigator. Dal went with his crew to Havana, Cuba for six weeks for over water training and then returned to Salina. After picking up their airplane in Wichita, Kansas and completing staging, they took off for the Pacific island of Guam for combat.

Dal recalls the first time that P-32 got hit over Japan. In his words "The night bombing of Tokyo was a holocaust." He remembers P-32 limping back to Guam with one or more engines out. He remembers losing a good friend during a ditching between Iwo Jima and Guam.

After the war, Dal left the Army Air Force and in 1946, he entered U.C.L.A. At the end of his freshmen year there he returned home and attended college at Ohio State, graduating in 1949, with a major in English.

Following college, he began working for Jones Metal Products in West Lafayette, Ohio. In 1951 he met and married Lois Morrison. They have three children - Lisa, Zachary and Ann. Dal spent most of his business career in sales at Jones Metal. In 1983, he became President of the company. It was Dal who headed up the first P-32 crew reunion at his home after "37 years between handshakes"

Donovan looks forward to retirement so he and Lois and relax and and take it easy at their home in Coschocton, Ohio.

Crew 32 Main Page
61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: Excerpted from a profile of Crew 32 entitled "Piledriver - P-32" written by Paul P and Billy Pratt, sons of co-pilot of P-32
for "History of the 39th Bomb Group" by Robert Laird (crew 5) and David C. Smith crew 31)