39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Pfc Donald M. Keena
Operations Clerk

Donald M. Keena was born on September 16, 1924 near Salem, SD, the son of Joseph and Elsie (Struck) Keena. Don grew up in and around Sioux Falls and attended school west of Crooks, in Southwest Sioux Falls, and at St. Joseph Cathedral School. He completed his education in Salem, graduating from Salem St. Mary’s in 1942. Don lettered in basketball for three years while there.

On November 18, 1943, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force. He was stationed on the island of Guam and served with the 61st Bomb Squadron, 39th Bomb group attached to the 20th Air Force during World War II. Don was awarded the Army Air Force Commendation Medal on Guam. He also received the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Service Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Distinguished Unit Badge with one Bronze Star, and the Army-Air Force Commendation Medal. After his discharge, Don returned to Sioux Falls and was employed by John Morrel & Co. and Hutton Tufty. He served in the US Air Force Reserve until 1950.

Don married Garnet Ottoson on May 31, 1950 in Sioux Falls. In 1952, they moved to their farm south of Colman. They have always made their home there. They have one daughter and two grandchildren. Don worked for Harris Benson at Chester Hardware for a time. He served a total of 25 years on Lynn Township Boards. In 1971, Don began working as assessor for Moody County. He retired as the Director of Equalization on December 31, 1987.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Dell Rapids. Don served as sexton of the West Baptist Cemetery for over 25 years. He was a member of the Sioux Falls American Legion Post before he transferred to the Dell Rapids American Legion Post. He also was a lifetime member of the VFW.

Donald M.Keena passed away 27 December 2006 at the age of 82 years.  Memorial Service was held 30 December 2006 in Dell Rapids.

61st Squadron Ground Index

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Source:Excerpts from obituary of Donald M. Kenna