|Born||23 Jul 1901|
|Died||9 Apr 1977|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseDonald Arthur Gary was born in Findlay, Ohio, United States. He enlisted in the United States Navy in Dec 1919. He became an officer in Nov 1943 when he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant (jg). Between 1943 and 1944, he served at the Third Naval District and as an inspector of machinery at the Babcock and Wilcox Company. In Dec 1944, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier Franklin as an engineering officer. On 19 Mar, while only 50 miles off the Japanese home islands as indirect support for the Okinawa campaign, the carrier was attacked by a single dive bomber, either a D4Y or a D3A aircraft. Two 250-kilogram bombs hit the carrier, igniting fires and leaving the ship dead in the water with a 13-degree list. Gary discovered 300 men trapped deep within the ship; upon finding an exit, he returned to them repeatedly to lead groups to safety. US Marine Corps pilot Ray Larson recalled a navy lieutenant, Gary, breaking into the compartment where he and a group of other men were trapped. "I've found a way out. I'll take the first ten men closest to the door first. If I get them through, I'll come back and get the rest of you." Larson was among the second group Gary took above. He recalled Gary telling the group to stay low and hang on to the belt of the man immediately in front so that no one would get lost in the thick clouds of smoke. Later, Gary led firefighters on the burning hangar deck. For his actions during the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Franklin, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation read:
ww2dbaseGary was subsequently promoted to the ranks of lieutenant and lieutenant commander. After the war, he remained with the ship until she was decommissioned in Feb 1947. He was then assigned to the Naval Disciplinary Barracks at Terminal Island, California, United States, where he served until retirement in Jun 1950. He was promoted to the rank of commander while on the retirement list. He passed away in 1977. He now rests at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, United States.
ww2dbaseIn 1983, the guided missile frigate USS Gary was named in his honor.
ww2dbaseSources: Inferno, United States Navy Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2007
Donald Gary Timeline
|23 Jul 1901||Donald Gary was born.|
|9 Apr 1977||Donald Gary passed away.|
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