11th United States Army Air ForceAlaska - WWIIScapbooks: Don DeSomery
Wilbur Clark put together a short contribution in memory of Don DeSomery for Ralph Bartholomew, President of the Eleventh Air Force Association. This is Ralph's response, dated 10 September 1991:"Don was one of the original members of our Air Force Rescue Boat Squadron and became skipper of our first ocean going 104' crash boat designed for use in the Aleutian campaign.I was privileged to be with Don as a small group of twenty (now 9 left) of us were shipped from Ketchikan just 49 years ago this month to pick up the first two boats, the P-114 and P-115 in Stockton, CA. The P-115 was ready first and I shipped as Chief Radio Operator with Don as skipper going down river to San Francisco where we were to await the P-114 to be completed then travel up the coast to Seattle together.As we were moored at a pier right at the foot of Market Street, all of the off duty crew were uptown every night. Don had a penchant for the Limburger cheese and he must have found a deli somewhere along the return route to the boat, because there was always some of the stinky cheese laying out in the warm galley for the cook to clean up in the morning. Someone in the crew placed his Limburger remains in the heat duct going into his stateroom, and after looking for the terrible odor for several days, he finally found it. After raising hell with the crew he took the hint and at least put it away in the fridge from then on.While we were waiting in Stockton for the boats, our Detachment Commander, Captain Kind, took us on a cross country hike in 80 or 90 degree weather, probably to sweat the beer out of us. It was tough going as we certainly were not used to the heat coming from Alaska. The Captain couldn't go the next day so he told our Senior Sergeant Don to take us out. Don led us to the first crossroads beer parlor he could find and we took the rest of our hike there. A farmer bailing hay in the fields around us came in for a cold one and a few of our crew talked to him about his bailing machine. It wasn't long before he offered to buy the beer if we would take turns running his bailer. The good Captain couldn't understand why we were laughing and joking among ourselves after such a long hike.We were still living in San Francisco on Thanksgiving that fall and instead of what would normally have been a lonely day for all of us, a young lady-friend of Don's named "Shirley," brought down a turkey dinner for the crew. I wasn't aware that they had later married until we got together in a reunion at Elmendorf Air Force Base in 1986 and Don introduced Shirley to the rest of us.It was a pleasure having served with Don and we will all miss him.Sincerely,10th EMERGENCY RESCUE BOAT ASSOCIATIONRalph M. Bartholomew, President"
Current Update: 25 Nov 2021Last Update: 04 Jan 2013 11:54Originally Published: 22 Jun 2001