Hurlburt Field’s Namesake
Published July 08, 2008
Donald Wilson Hurlburt was born on June 16, 1919 in Watts Flatts, N.Y. On August 5, 1941, Donald Hurlburt enlisted in the U.S. Army at Binghamton, N.Y. as a Private. His first assignment was Fort Dix, N.J., where he completed basic training. During October of that year, following his promotion to Private First Class (PFC), he was assigned as an aviation cadet to the Preflight Training School at Maxwell Field, Ala.
Starting in April 1942, PFC Hurlburt attended Advanced Flying School at Moody Field, Ga. As a PFC, Hurlburt was honorably discharged July 2, 1942, from the U.S. Army to accept his commission as a Second Lieutenant. He was then assigned as a pilot with the 358th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, N.M.
Subsequently, in October 1942, he departed the United States for service in the European theater of operations with the 258th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group. Just one month before returning to the United States in July 1943, Lieutenant Hurlburt was promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant.
He was next assigned to Headquarters, 1st Air Force, Mitchel Field, N.Y. Then in August 1943, he reported to the 1st Proving Ground Electronics Unit at Eglin Field, Fla.
First Lieutenant Donald W. Hurlburt died Oct. 1, 1943, of injuries sustained when the aircraft he was piloting crashed on takeoff during a local mission at the Eglin Field Military Reservation.
For his actions overseas and his military service, Lieutenant Hurlburt was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. He was also authorized to wear the World War II Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star for participation in Air Offensive Europe Campaign, and the Aviation Badge "Pilot."