1LT Donald W. Allee
422nd Night Fighter Squadron
9th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps
Killed in Action 19 December 1944
-- Donald W. Allee (Jr.) --
First Lieutenant Donald W. Allee of Hammond, Indiana, is my father. He was
born 10 February 1921, the eighth of eleven children of George W. and Etta
In World War II, he served in the U. S. Army Air Corps as a P-61 pilot in the
9th Air Force's 422nd Night Fighter Squadron.
My father's story shares much with the stories of other Americans during
those war years, beginning with the Monday morning after the Pearl Harbor
attack, when my dad and his younger brother Jerry showed up to enlist along
with thousands of other American men. The crowd in front of the Hammond
recruiting office was so large that they were among those told to come back
later. My Uncle Jerry chuckled as he related this memory to me over forty
years later. He and Don decided to go swimming at the YMCA. When they
returned after the exertion of swimming, the examining doctor mistook my
dad's rapid heart rate for something irregular and so turned him away.
Later in 1942, my dad was accepted and went to basic training in Santa Ana,
California. He had excellent vision and so qualified for training as a pilot,
but at six-foot-three he was too tall. With a bit of practice he was able to
stand several inches shorter and thereby pass the physical exam for flight
school. He trained first at Visalia, California, and then at Chico,
California. (The picture above is from his time in Chico.)
From Chico he traveled with a group of cadets by chartered bus to La Junta,
Colorado, to earn his wings. En route to La Junta, at a Sunday afternoon
stopover in Salt Lake City, he met my mother, Celia Irene Folbridge. She was
a WAAC recruiter working in the Rocky Mountain region. In May 1943, he earned
his wings as a pilot in Class 43E, and in this same month he married my
My father did his night fighter training in Florida at Orlando and Kissimmee,
during which time he and my mother lived together for the only time in their
lives. Then in late February 1944, my father and his squadron transferred
overseas, sailing from New York to Liverpool, England, on the HMS
Mauretania. My mother returned to her hometown in northern Illinois, and
I was born in May 1944. I am told by his buddies in the 422nd that my father
handed out big cigars to celebrate my birth.
After months of training in England and awaiting the delivery of their
aircraft, the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron entered combat prior to D-Day
flying V-1 intercept missions over the English Channel. My father flew the
Northrop P-61A Black Widow named "Wacky Wabbit."
After D-Day, the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron moved to France and flew out of
Maupertus on the Cherbourg peninsula, and then, after the Breakout and
Liberation of Paris, his squadron was transferred to Chateaudun where they
stayed for two weeks before moving on 16 September 1944 to an airfield at
During his service in WWII, my father flew combat missions over the English
Channel, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. He earned four Oak Leaf Clusters
for missions flown, and he is credited with a "probable" -- a German Ju-88 that
he shot to flames on 14 December 1944.
On the third night of the Battle of the Bulge, my father and his R/O (Radar
Observer) T/Sgt Richard Heggie crashed in the fog after being unable to
locate any clear airfield at which to land.
Before going overseas, my father had told my mother, "If I die, bury me where
I fall." True to his wish he rests on a Belgian hillside in the U.S. Cemetery
at Henri-Chapelle along with eight thousand other American servicemen.
His loss permanently marked my life. I miss you Dad. We will remember