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Dagle, Donald W., 1928-1950


Posted By: Lydia Lucas - Volunteer (email)
Date: 9/27/2010 at 21:15:07

Sgt. Donald Dagle of Hawarden Assumed to Be Lost in Crash of Transport

Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence L. Dagle of Hawarden this week received word from Brig. General E. H. Underhill, director of military personnel, from the Department of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., stating that the search for a C-54 transport plane which crashed with their son, Sergeant Donald W. Dagle, has been suspended, and that in view of the facts Sgt. Dagle has been determined to be dead.

The letter follows:
"I am writing regarding the status of your son, Sergeant Donald W. Dagle, AF17191460, Air Force.

Aboard Skymaster

"Your son was a passenger aboard a C-54 (Skymaster) transport type aircraft which departed from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska, on 26 January, 1950, bound for Great Falls, Montana.

"The last contact with the plane was a radio position report received at 1:14 p.m. two hours after the aircrat left Elmendorf. This report stated that the plane had passed over Snag, Yukon Territory, five minutes earlier, and was expected to arrive over Aisihik at 1:37 p.m. When no report was received from the plane over Aisihik, attempts were made to establish contact or to locate the craft, but these efforts were unsuccessful.

"Since the plane was still unreported after its fuel supply was estimated to be exhausted an extensive organized aerial search was instituted, combining the joint efforts of the United States and Royal Canadian Air Forces. The search, which encompassed approximately 871,000 square miles and which proved fruitless, was suspended 20 February, 1950, after close aerial search coverage had been given all areas in which the plane could have crashed.

Many False Reports

"There were numerous reports of sightings," the letter continued, "purportedly related to the missing aircraft, but an investigation of each report and ensuing aerial search, employing ground parties where possible, established that the sightings were unrelated to this aircraft, or otherwise failed completely to produce any evidence as to the fate of the missing persons or the plane.

"The assistance of specialists in radio transmission was solicited to trace the many reported radio distress signals. Their findings indicated that the signals could have originated almost anywhere on the North American continent, or from shipping off the coast and from even more remote points, as was proved by one signal traced to shipping off the coast of Denmark.

"To definitely determine whether the distress signals were being originated by any of the missing personnel, a five day silence was imposed on the distress frequency throughout the area. During this period, not one of the many radio stations listening on thie frequency reported hearing distress signals of any kind.

No Summer Clues

"Pilots of military and commercial aircraft flying over this area have been continuously on the lookout for any sign of the missing plane. It was hoped that the summer season would bring to light leads which would be of value in locating the lost aircraft or would reveal the fate of its personnel. No evidence of any kind has been reported.

"Failure of the early search to locate the aircraft or any of its occupants, the severe climactic conditions prevailing over this entire area at the time the plane became missing, the limited available supply of food and equipment necessary for continued survival, and the passing of the summer season without any indication of survival or additional information, lead to no other conclusion than that the occupants of the aircraft did not survive the accident.

"In view of the above facts and circumstances, it has been determined that your son died as the result of this accident and the records of the Department of the Air Force have been amended to show that Sergeant Donald W. Dagle, AG 17191460, United States Air Force, died 26 of January, 1950, the date he was originally reported missing, as the result of an aircraft accident in Canada while enroute from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to Great Falls, Montana.

"Within a short time a chaplain at the nearest Air Force installation will communicate with you. This chaplain is prepared to assist you in obtaining whatever government benefits may be allowable as the result of the death of your son, and will help in any other way that he can.

22 Years Old

"I realize full well how great must be your sorrow in the loss of your loved one. My deep and heartfelt sympathy is extended to you at this time of grief," the general concluded.

Sgt. Dagle, 22, was one of 36 passengers and crewmen aboard the ill fated aircraft.

Young Dagle was born February 9, 1928, in Sioux City. He enlisted in the air corps over four years ago while a junior in high school. He finished his studies while in the air corps and was graduated from Hawarden high school in 1947. Sgt. Dagle re-enlisted in May of 1949 for one more year service. He had been in Alaska about 18 months as a special mechanic.

He has two older brothers, Walt and Chet, both of Hawarden.

Source: Hawarden Independent, Dec. 21, 1950.

* * * * * * * * * *

Donald Dagle Listed Among Army Victims
Girl Friend Keeps Vigil at Anchorage While Relatives Here Await Word

Sergeant Donald W. Dagle, 22, of Hawarden yesterday still was reported as missing aboard an ill fated C-54 transport plane which disappeared last week in Alaska. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Dagle.

As relatives here anxiously awaited results of a vast air and ground search for the plane, the Hawarden youth's girl friend maintained a vigil at Anchorage where she works as a waitress. The girl, Darlene Erickson, formerly of Sioux City, communicated with Donald's parents recently and said that she would notify them of any new developments concerning the plane.

Although the 36 passengers and eight crewmen reportedly were well equipped to cope with Alaska's cold, today marks the end of a full week since the transport took off from Anchorage. The plane's destination was Great Falls, Montana.

Sergeant Dagle climbed aboard the plane last Thursday to spend a 30-day furlough in Hawarden.

[Omitted personal information repeated in the Dec. 21 obit.]

Source: Hawarden Independent, Feb. 2, 1950.


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