44-11296

 

On 20 February 1945 a P-51D-6NT Mustang, # 44-11296, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51sr Fighter Group, 26th Fighter Squadron, Laohokow, China, departed on a fighter sweep mission at Luantsun airfield. The pilot, killed in action, was Capt. Donald J. Rauch, # 0-796029.

 

Lt. George L. Walston, 0-813266, saw Capt. Rauch crash. Capt. Rauch was with the flight until the 2nd pass. He then saw a fighter burning on the ground.

 

RAUCH, DONALD JEAN, Captain, # 0-796029, USAAF

 

Donald J. Rauch was born on 27 February 1920 in Convoy, Van Wert Co., Ohio, to Roxy Pearl Rauch (1890-1980) and Ella Margaretta (Jenkins) Rauch (1895-1969). Sibling was John Ralph Rauch (1918-2006). He graduated from Van Wert High School.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Toledo, Ohio, on 12 May 1941. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school and was assigned to fly the North American P-51 Mustang. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 20 February 1945 a P-51D-6NT Mustang, # 44-11296, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51sr Fighter Group, 26th Fighter Squadron, Laohokow, China, departed on a fighter sweep mission at Luantsun airfield. Lt. George L. Walston, 0-813266, saw Capt. Rauch crash. Capt. Rauch was with the flight until the 2nd pass. He saw a fighter burning on the ground. After recovery from China, his remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii, on 26 January 1949 (Sec. C, Grave 1275). He is remembered in the Venedocia Cemetery, Venedocia, Van Wert Co., Ohio. He was awarded the Purple Heart.