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“D” is for Donaldson, John Owen (1898-1930)

“D” is for Donaldson, John Owen (1898-1930). Aviator. Born in North Dakota, Donaldson grew up in Greenville. During World War I he joined the Canadian Air Service before the United States entered the war in 1917. He completed his flight training in England and saw his first combat in July 1918 with the Royal Air Force. During his two months of combat Donaldson became a highly skilled fighter pilot and one of America’s top ten aces of World War I, shooting down nine aircraft and two balloons. He received numerous citations for his actions. After the war he continued his interest in aviation and won the U.S. Army’s transcontinental race in 1919. After resigning his commission, he became president of Newark (N.J.) Air Service, Inc. In 1951 Greenville Air Base was renamed to honor John Owen Donaldson.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.