Maj. Donald M. Beerbower
Don Beerbower’s family moved to Wadena and Hill City from Saskatchewan. In high school he played basketball and was senior class president as well as an Eagle Scout before attending Iowa State College. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in January 1942 where he took fighter pilot training. He then flew with the 353rd Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group.
Beerbower’s first combat mission occurred in December 1943. He scored his first aerial victory in January 1944 and became an ace in February. His last confirmed aerial victory came in July 1944, bringing his total to 15.5 confirmed victories. He became a major and received the Distinguished Service Cross (three), Air Medal (26) and Purple Heart awards.
Beerbower is one of the two top-scoring Minnesota air aces. He died flying against a German airdrome near Rheims, France, in August 1944.