My grandfather

My grandfather died today. I don’t have much to say except he was the inspiration to my service.

Donald W. van Buren was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served in World War II as a B-17G “Flying Fortress” pilot in the 860th Bombardment Squadron, 493 Bombardment Group, 8th Army Air Corps. Arriving in England in late April 1945, he flew aid missions out of RAF Debach (Ipswich, England), dropping food and relief items primarily in the Netherlands where supply routes had been cut off by the German Army. After the war ended in the European Theater, he redeployed back to the United States and was to train on B-29 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to fly in the Pacific Theater, but after the end of the war with Japan the unit was deactivated.


Author: Matthew

U.S. Marine Corps officer living in North Carolina. The views expressed here are my own, and are in no way intended to represent the United States Marine Corps, Department of Defense or any of its components.

14 thoughts on “My grandfather”

  1. Condolences, Matthew. The loss of mentors is one of life’s built-in trials. There is ample evidence you’ve been shaped by outstanding ones. In you they live on. And that is good.

  2. Your grandfather sounds like an inspiration, and a shining example of service. I salute his service, as I do yours!

  3. Matthew, my sympathy on your loss. Such a handsome and distinguished man. My father was also a 2nd Lt. in the army during WW II. He was at Normandy but would never talk about it. Quite a generation. And I’m sure he was very proud of his grandson.

    Lee Jeffreys

  4. My apologies for not reading this sooner, Matthew. My love and sympathies to you and your family. I’m sure your grandfather was as loved and honored as mine was, and it is a painful loss indeed.

  5. Ye gods!, Matthew… this is probably an inappropriate time to make this comment, but then Mommie Dammit wouldn’t know from appropriate now would I? I was just sitting here admiring the great photo of your grandfather, and it struck me how much you look like him! Nose, chin, cheekbones, browline… so strong, handsome heroes must run in your family.

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