Perkins, Donald L
Donald L. Perkins, 87, of Scottsdale, Arizona, a World War II veteran who survived when his plane was shot down, died June 4, 2009. Born June 30, 1921, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Mr. Perkins was the son of the late Albert Perkins and Dottie Dutcher Perkins. A 1939 graduate of Bartlesville High School, he enlisted in the Air Force in 1942, and went overseas in 1943 with the 99th Bomb Group – 347th Bomb Squadron. He flew in several combat missions over enemy-occupied territory in Italy, Germany, the Balkans and Southern France. While on a bombing mission over Austria on April 2, 1944, his B-17 was shot down and he bailed out with a flak wound in his back. He was captured by the Germans and spent five months in a German hospital. He was held in captivity at Stalag 9-C and Stalag Luft IV. On February 6, 1945 when the Russian Army was approaching Stalag Luft IV, the camp was evacuated and the prisoners began a forced march that lasted 86 days – the “Black Death March”. They marched in blizzard conditions during the coldest winter of the 20th century, with little food, clothing or shelter. Mr. Perkins was liberated by the British 2nd Army near Halle, Germany on May 3, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart, American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon, three Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge and an Air medal and a medal for Meritorious Achievement in Aerial Flying. After the war, Mr. Perkins returned to Bartlesville and married his childhood sweetheart, Doris Cowell. They had three daughters: Terrie Lynn, Bette Jean and Janice Diane. The family moved to Arizona in 1957. Mr. Perkins is survived by his three daughters; one granddaughter, Jessica Ann O’Donel; a sister, Dorothy Barker; one niece, Joyce Peck; and a nephew, Wesley Barker. Private Services were held with Interment at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, in Phoenix, Arizona.