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Collection Donald C. Pressentin
WVM ID Number OH 178
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with D. C. Pressetin
Date 1995
Event World War II
Narrator's Name Donald C. Pressentin
Interviewer's Name Mark Van Ells
Description In this oral history interview, Donald C. "D.C." Pressentin, a Madison, Wisconsin native, discusses his service as a fighter pilot with the 324th Fighter Group, 315th Fighter Squadron during World War II and as a pilot with the Air National Guard Defense Command during the Korean War.

After graduating from high school in 1941, he worked for a year then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to study engineering, joining the Air Force cadet program at UW in 1942. He describes his basic training at Miami Beach (Florida) and Gettysburg College (Pennsylvania) with the military's first college detachment program. Pressentin was sent to Maxwell Field (Alabama) for pre-flight training. Next, Pressentin describes his basic flight training at Bainbridget (Georgia) and his Advanced Flight Training in Marianna (Florida). Next, he outlines his trip overseas from Dover (Delaware) to Naples (Italy) via the Straits of Gibraltar. Pressentin was assigned to Corsica with the 324th Fighter Group. Pressentin details his first combat mission in which he flew "top cover" for the Invasion of France in August 1944. He also flew "top cover" for Patton's invasion of Germany. Pressentin reports he flew 58 missions and only encountered German fighter pilots once. In addition, Pressentin addresses military life.

He describes spending the entire winter of 1944-45 in Douvres (France). In the of spring 1945, Pressentin tells how he was flying back from a mission over Germany when he crash-landed due to mechanical problems. Unconscious, he was rescued in the woods by French civilians. He woke up in a hospital in Nancy (France) and learned he had broken his back. Pressentin describes his recovery at length: he was sent to Marseilles General Hospital. Around V-E Day, he was flown from Torino (Italy) to Boston Hospital (Massachusetts), ending up in Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver (Colorado) in July 1945. In August 1945, Pressentin states he got married while on medical leave in Madison.

After the war, he returned to the University of Wisconsin, majoring in Economics. Pressentin touches upon his readjustment to civilian life and describes the changes to the UW campus because of the G.I. Bill. After finishing his B.A., Pressentin started law school and joined the Air National Guard. Once the Air Guard was called to active duty in Korea, Pressentin was assigned to the Defense Command at Truax Air Field (Wisconsin), where his flew P-33 and F-89 jets over Wisconsin and Illinois to monitor the domestic airways. For the final six months of the Korean War, Pressentin was sent to Sioux City Air Force Base (Iowa). In 1953, Pressentin resigned from the Air Guard. He joined the the DAV, VFW, and briefly the American Legion. Pressentin also joined the P40 Association. Throughout the interview, Pressentin discusses various aircraft including the P-47, P-40, PT-17, P-38, B-40, B-51, B-15, F-89, and the F-86.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 1 hour, 7 minutes)
Transcript: 35 pgs.
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Biographical Record Pressentin, Donald C.