DONALD, MYRON LEE Name: Myron Lee Donald Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 497th TFS Date of Birth: 20 May 1943 Home City of Record: Moravia NY Date of Loss: 23 February 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 212400N 1071500E (XJ848654) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Missions: 27 Laos; 47 North Vietnam Other Personnel in Incident: Laird Guttersen (released POW) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: 730314 RELSD BY DRV SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Lt. Myron L. Donald served as weapons systems operator in a Phantom fighter/bomber flown by Major Laird Guttersen on a mission they were assigned on February 23, 1968. While close to Hanoi, the aircraft was hit by a missile from a MiG 21. Donald and Guttersen crash landed near Haiphong and both were captured by the North Vietnamese. Both were released in March 1973 with other American POWs. Donald and Guttersen received torture and deprivation in the hands of the Vietnamese, but neither lost their will to survive. Donald says that the POWs' sense of humor was one of the biggest things that kept them going. He remembers times when POWs were in their cells with irons on hands and feet, but laughing so hard that tears ran down their cheeks. This, he said, "drove them crazy." Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home. Myron L. Donald was promoted to the rank of Captain during his captivity.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO MYRON LEE DONALD Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down: February 23, 1968 Released: March 14,1973 Probably one of the biggest problems and one of the most difficult which which to cope occurs the moment you eject. One moment a world that is familiar to you-a warm, safe cockpit, seemingly insulated from outside danger, a radio to bring the sound of your friends to your immediate proximity, a mind occupied with a job you've practiced a hundred times. Then, suddenly an explosion, the red ball of fire from the missile as it hits your engine and a shout from somewhere, "You're on fire. Get out." As soon as you pull the handle, it is very windy and noisy followed by a sudden change to nearly complete silence as your parachute blossoms. A short, quick descent until you land in the middle of a group of small, dark, foreign people armed with a rusty old squirrel gun and brandishing machetes. In a few moments you are standing in a rice paddy in your underwear facing an alien world and people whose language you cannot understand. A few hours in a primitive village before a Russian-built helicopter takes you to Hanoi where the government gets you in its hands and begins to tie you into all kinds of shapes approximating that of pretzels. The feeling of complete and utter fear and helplessness caused by the cold, hunger and knowledge that if you fight back you will be beaten even worse, can cause a state of shock that can last for days, months, or perhaps even years. My mind was so out of whack and my room was so dark that when I received my two loaves of bread a day and saw the little dark particles in the bread, l thought they were caraway seeds. How nice of the Communists to do that for us! It wasn't until I was in a brighter room several weeks later that I could see the little legs and bodies of the bugs that I had wanted to believe were caraway seeds! Another incident that happened soon after capture concerned my black pajamas. I had two pairs. l wore one pair until they were very dirty and then changed and put the dirty one on the other empty bed in my room. l don't mind washing my own clothes, but it wasn't until several days later when the camp officer inspected my room and wanted to know why I hadn't washed my dirty clothes, that I realized that I had been waiting for the maid or the camp laundry to wash my clothes! I think there is only one way to combat this type of shock, caused by ejection or a car accident or whatever. That is to have been here before. Either to have read about it or seen another person's reactions and then formed your own ideas or to have daydreams about being in similar unpleasant situations and deciding how you would handle them. By having a ready made plan of action and by knowing what type of reactions to expect, you can operate on your pre-thought-out plan until your mind begins to function properly again. Myron L. Donald was born in Auburn, New York on 20 May 1943 to Ivan and Adelyn Donald of Moravia, New York. He attended Moravia Central School, graduating on 20 June 1961. He was student body president and active in sports and high school clubs. Following high school, he entered the United States Air Force Academy, graduating 9 June 1965. He married Susan Dahl and entered pilot training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama. Upon earning his wings, he went through RTU at George AFB, California in the F4. He was then stationed at Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, with the 497th TFS. After 74 missions, he was shot down near Hanoi on 23 February 1968. He was released on 13 March 1973. He will be pursuing an advanced degree in English at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He and his wife have one son, Lance. Myron Donald retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Col. He resides in Arizona.