Don Beerbower - Major
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Silver Star
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Air Medal with V (for valor) (Somalia)
Year at ISU: 1942 - Creamery Operations (two year)
Major Don Merrill Beerbower was born on August 26, 1921 in Saskatchewan, Canada. His family later moved to Hill City, Minnesota. Don eventually married to Elayne Kutcher and had two daughters, Donita Lea and Dawn Marie.
Don was a World War II flying Ace from Hill City, Minnesota. He destroyed 19.5 enemy aircraft and damaged 14 others. At one point, he had 12 Swastikas painted on his P-51 Mustang the "Bonnie B."
He served with the 353rd Squadron "The Fighting Cobras", 354th Fighter Group, 9th Army Air Force. He made first lieutenat in March 1943 and Captain on November 1943. He achieved Ace status with the destruction of a German Messerschmitt 109. He became major on August 6, 1944.
Don died strafing a German airdrome north of Rheims, France on August 9, 1944. His awards include: the Air Medal, 25 Bronze Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, several Oak Leaf Clusters, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Service Cross. He was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000.
Further information about Major Beerbower and the "The Fighting Cobras" can be found in: "The Oranges are Sweet: Major Don M. Beerbower and the 353rd Fighter Squadron, November 1942 to August 1944" by Paul M. Sailer. "Forgotten Ace: Don M. Beerbower," also written by Paul M. Sailer, which appeared in the fall 2011 edition of WWII ACES, published by the magazine Flight Journal.