Editor’s note: This Veterans Day Voice of OC is publishing a series of plaques honoring some of Orange County’s most decorated veterans. Donald Gary was born in Findley, Ohio on July 23, 1901 and died on April 9, 1977.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by
Act of Congress, 3 March 1863, has awarded the Medal of Honor to
Lieutenant (J. G.) Donald A. Gary
United States Navy
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty as an engineering officer aboard the USS Franklin (CV 13) when that vessel was attacked by enemy aircraft during operations near Kobe, Japan, March 19, 1945
Stationed on the third deck when the ship was rocked by a series of explosions set off in her own stockpile of munitions, LTJG. Gary risked of his life to assist several hundred man trapped in a compartment filled with smoke.
As the men below decks became panic stricken from the continuous explosions, he assured them he would get them out. Groping through the dark, he ultimately discovered an escapeway.
Determine, he struggled his way back to the compartment despite deadly flames, flooding water, and the threat of additional explosions, on each occasion calmly leading his men through the smoke until they were saved.
Selfless in his concern for his ship and his men, he rallied others around him organizing and leading fire fighting parties onto the flight deck. When fire rooms 1 and 2 were in operable, entered No. 3 fireroom and directed the raising of steam.
An inspiring and courageous leader, LTJG. Gary rendered service under the most perilous conditions and was responsible for saving several hundred lives. His conduct reflects the highest credit upon the United States Naval Service.
Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS
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