Barger, Lt. Donald 1917-1943
Posted By: Linda Ziemann, Volunteer (email)
Date: 12/1/2012 at 16:16:47
Algona Upper Des Moines
July 1, 1943
SWEA CITY HOLDS MEMORIAL RITES FOR LT. BARGER, KOSSUTH FLYER
Swea City—A crowd that filled the church to overflowing assembled Sunday afternoon to pay last respects to the memory of Lieut. Donald Barger, Army air pilot, who lost his life on May 27th. Donald’s plane plummeted from 7,000-foot altitude into San Pablo Bay, off the California coast, after apparently going out of control. Searchers found only small bits of wreckage of the plane. Lieut. Barger’s body was not recovered.
Born in Kossuth
Lieut. Donald Barger was born in Grant Twp. in November, 1917, and was therefore 25 years old at the time of his death. At the age of 14, he was baptized and received into membership of the First Baptist Church here. In 1935 he was graduated from the Grant Consolidated school, which he had attended throughout the entire twelve years of grade and high school work. After assisting his father, Wm. Barger, on the farm for a year, he entered Iowa State College at Ames and was graduated from a four-year course in animal husbandry in 1940. He then spent two years with the De Kalb seed corn company, being stationed at Austin and Jackson, Minn., and at Storm Lake, Iowa. He was doing excellent work with this firm and had received several promotions when he was called to the service of his country.
Graduate of Air School
In April, 1943, he was graduated from the air school at Luke Field, Phoenix, Ariz., as a pilot, being commissioned a second lieutenant. His class was at that time the largest to be graduated from Luke Field, with the highest safety record and the lowest percentage of eliminated candidates.
During one stage of his training, Donald received a citation and medal for marksmanship. With characteristic modesty he made little or no mention of the award in his letters home. Few persons outside of his family knew of it.
At the time of the fatal accident, Lieut. Barger was awaiting a call to overseas service. He was a pursuit pilot and the crash occurred while he was on a scheduled acrobatic mission.
Military honors at the memorial service Sunday were presented by Fisher Post, American Legion, assisted by local service men home on furlough. Mrs. Walter G. Smith, church pianist, played a martial hymn as the color-bearers, Pvt. Thomas Olson and his brother, Sgt. Glenn Olson, advanced.
The Olson brothers, who are home from Arizona and Porto Rico on furlough following the recent death of their father, were mates of Donald in Sunday School and church activities during their civilian days.
Following the colors were Pvt. Walter Ogren, Lawrence Mogensen, of the Navy, Pfc. Vern Anderson of Camp Bowie, Texas, all home on furlough, and honorably discharged World War II veterans, Henry Hoeck and Paul Gassmann. The veterans of World War I formed the remainder of the military escort.
Squadron Presents Plaque
The floral decorations were centered around a large “V” of red, white and blue flowers, in the center of which mounted a photograph of Lieut. Barger and a beautiful memorial plaque presented to the bereaved family by officers and men of his squadron. This was flanked by baskets of red, white and blue flowers. A long list of neighbors and friends who had made gifts to missions in Donald’s memory was read by the pastor, Rev. S. A. Anderson, who also delivered the sermon.
Music was furnished by a quartet including Florence Alberts, Esther Smith, Sam Link and Elmer Isenberg. Miss Alberts also sang a solo. At the close of the service, taps were played by Bugler Sam Heathershaw of the Legion.
Donald is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Barger, and two sisters, Mrs. Glen Clark and Marian.
Relatives and friends from a distance included Capt. Gerald Imbody and daughter, Mary, of Fort Snelling, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Walter McCrary and children of Grinnell; Mr. and Mrs. Raymond McCrary, Ventura; Mrs. Warren Schram, Chicago; Mrs. Howard Hosier, Superior, Wis.; Mrs. Milford Hough, Des Moines; Fae Van Buskirk and Mr. and Mrs. J. Van Buskirk, Ottosen.
Kossuth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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