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Archive Record

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Collection Donald E. Fisher
WVM ID Number WVM Mss 1858
Object Name Archive
Title Papers and visual materials, 1939-2013
Year Range from 1939
Year Range to 2013
Event World War II
Description Papers and still images of Donald E. Fisher, a Madison, Wisconsin resident who served with the PT boat squadrons of World War II. The collection includes a detailed photographic record of the progress of Donald's service, from his enlistment in Daytona Beach, Florida, service in both the European and Pacific theaters, to his discharge in Hawaii. Papers include his personal diary and manuscripts, which document the trials and tribulations faced by him and his fellow crew members. Of particular interest is the Blue Jackets manual which doubled as his diary, containing a detailed timeline of Donald's ports of call in the European theater of operations, photographs and a documentary on the skirmish between his squadron and a German convoy off the coast of Jersey, and memoirs and photographs of D-Day. Also included are photographs and records of Donald's family and his post-war life, which is illustrated in memoirs celebrating his life as well as correspondence detailing his graduation from college and job search after the war. Also included in the collection is a research file dedicated to documenting the PT boats and crews of the Second World War, organized by boat number, which includes a poster showcasing the unit art of each squadron from the war, a video documentary on the recovery of the wreck of PT 509, and a disc of digitized records and photographs both from Donald himself as well as other PT sailors he knew personally.
Extent and Medium of Description Papers : 0.4 linear ft. (2 half archives boxes) and
Photographs : 0.4 linear ft. (1 archives box, 1 folder, and 17 negative flaps) and
Digital files : 1.18 gigabytes (452 files in 91 folders) and
Videodisc : 1 videodisc (57:22 min.) : sd., color ; 4 3/4 in.
History Donald Eugene Fisher was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. The son of a career Army officer, he moved frequently with his father's changing duty stations. He spent his youth in northern Wisconsin, where his father was commanding officer of depression-era Civilian Conservation Corp camps at Cable, Seeley, and Townsend, Wisconsin. Donald attended Namakagon, Spider Lake and Antigo elementary schools. When his father became commanding officer of Camp Madison (now the University of Wisconsin Arboretum), Donald attended Madison West High School. He graduated from Daytona Beach High School, where his father became commanding officer of the Women's Army Corps camp in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Donald joined the Navy when he was 17 years old and volunteered for PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat service. After his training, he was assigned to PT 503 of RON (PT boat squadron) 34. He saw action on D-Day off the coast of France during the Normandy invasion, and joined the forces occupying Cherbourg. While in France, his RON fought a skirmish against a German convoy, in which PT 509 was destroyed. Returning to Britain, he helped prepare PT 503 and other ships in RON 34 for transfer to the U.S.S.R. under the terms of Lend-Lease, and then was transferred to the Pacific aboard PT 277 of RON 23, and later on, PT 297 of RON 16. Donald served in the South Pacific until the Japanese surrender. During his service he earned three Purple Heart medals for injuries sustained in combat, as well as numerous other awards for the actions in which his boat and squadron were engaged.

Shortly after the war, Don met and married Jenny Hynek, and had four children: Patricia, Michael, Cheryl, and John. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison and received a BS degree in economics in 1949. He was hired by General Casualty Insurance Company in Madison as a claims adjuster in 1950, rising to the office of president and CEO in 1966. He held this position until his retirement in 1982. In 2005, he moved to Rochester, Minnesota with his wife and lived there until he passed away in 2013
External Link Finding Aid
Biographical Record Fisher, Donald E.
Subjects Veterans -- Wisconsin -- Madison.
Sailors -- United States -- Biography.
Torpedo-boats -- Maintenance and repair.
Torpedo-boats -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- English Channel.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- France -- Normandy.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Philippines.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Equipment and supplies.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American.
Military education -- United States.
Harbors -- France -- Cherbourg -- Photographs.
Fisher, Donald, 1925-2013.
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.) -- Wisconsin.
United States. Navy. Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 34. -- History.
Black-and-white photographs.
Color photographs.
Motion pictures (visual works)
Video recordings.
Military records.
Brooklyn Navy Yard (New York, N.Y.)
Fort Sheridan (Ill.)