Don served during WW2 in the Marine Corps.  He flew Corsairs, B-25 & B-26’s and, of course, Stearmans (it’s been 71 years).  He survived a training crash (he bailed out and his chute didn’t open).

Training mission over Everglades in 44, engine froze up in a training mission and caught fire. Bailed out at 400′ but chute didn’t open. Broke his back on landing and had to crawl away from fire from nearby plane crash which burnt his feet and then got up and walked away from a nest of snakes. When he was rescued they carried him away in the parachute and when he got back to base they thought he was dead, still wrapped in the chute. They started asking about next of kin to each other, until he yelled out!

Thank you for your service Don.