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Donald Aderman’s WWII Air Force Service

November 12, 2011

On this Veterans Day Weekend, it is appropriate to remember the military service of one of our family. Donald Aderman, of St. Joseph and Lincoln, IL, was the son of Paul and Florence (Gallagher) Aderman, the grandson of Ferdinand and Mary (Heiden) Adermann. Born on September 1, 1921, he was 59 years old when he died at home from heart failure on January 27, 1981.

During World War II, Donald served on General George Churchill Kenney’s personal plane. According to his obituary, he served for over three years and was a flight engineer; on the website about Gen. Kenney, he was noted as a side gunner. (The pictures below are from that website.)

General Kenney became the¬†Commander-in-Chief of the 5th Air Force, USAAF and had oversight of the South West Pacific Area, serving as the senior Allied air officer under General Douglas MacArthur, who had responsibility for the whole Pacific theater. His “office” was a refurbished B-17 Flying Fortress he affectionately called “Sally” in honor of his wife. Kenney took over his responsibilities in 1942 and Donald Aderman served with him through most of the latter’s military service. General Kenney is credited with turning around the work of the Air Force in the South West Pacific, using creative strategies which effectively threw off the Japanese and forced them to waste resources in ineffective fighting. His forces fought in the Philippines, Borneo, New Guinea, and Dutch East Indies.

Don Aderman on crew of the Sally

Don Aderman on the crew of the Sally. General MacArthur is awarding Gen. Kenney the Distinguished Service Medal, with the crew of the Sally watching.*

Crew of the Sally.

The crew of the Sally and their mascot, Butch. Don Aderman is standing in the back row, second from the left.

Another picture of the crew of the Sally

Another picture of the crew of General Kenney’s “Sally.” Don Aderman is the third from the left. Butch, who frequently accompanied them on flights, sits in the foreground.

The "Sally" B-17 Flying Fortress

The “Sally”–the B-17 Flying Fortress which was General Kenney’s office during WWII.

Donald married Mary Garton on March 25, 1945 in Lincoln, IL and after the war, he worked for Central Illinois Light and Gas Company. He was also active in the Lion’s Club, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln American Legion Post 263, and the Quarter Century Club of Springfield.

*All of these pictures are from

From → Aderman/Bates

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  1. An Aerial Echo of Bataan | The Bataan Campaign

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