American Ex-Prisoners of War
A not-for-profit, Congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organization advocating for former prisoners of war and their families.

Established April 14, 1942



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Biography
Nelson, Donald L.
Donald Nelson - 1944
Sgt. Donald L. Nelson
Donald Nelson - 1998
Donald L. Nelson 1923-1997
 
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After the War ...
Biography
Donald L. Nelson born December 30, 1923 in Minneapolis, MN.

An Airplane Engine Service Mechanic, he worked on building the Alcan Highway. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada transferred to Fort Nelson, British Columbia where he worked for Northwest Airlines servicing the plans that brought in supplies.

Due to the extreme cold he quit this job and enlisted in the Army Air Force on February 27, 1943 at Ft. Snelling, MN. He attended Flexible Gunnery School at Las Vegas, Nevada and Mechanics School at AAFTS Sheppard Field, Texas. He was assigned to the 561st Bomb Sqd., 388th Bomb Group as an Engineer-Gunner. He was stationed in England and served in the Battle of Normandy in Northern France.

His group was shuttle bombed over Europe and on one occasion, while on the ground in Russia, the Russians bombed them and a number of their planes were destroyed. On August 6, 1944, the B-17 airplane he was flying in as a bottom ball turret gunner was shot down over Berlin, Germany, and he was taken prisoner. He was held from August 6, 1944 to April 26, 1945 in Stalag Luft IV and Stalag Luft VI. He was on the 82 day Death March across Europe.

He was awarded the AAF Aircrew Member Badge (Wings), American Theater Ribbon, Fame Ribbon W/3 Bronze Stars, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal W/3 Bronze Clusters, Distinguished Unit Badge. He was given an honorable discharge on November 10, 1945.

Before going overseas, Don was married to Genevieve L. Thompson on December 11, 1943. They had one daughter, Judith who went to be with her Lord and Savior August 1, 1989. Don went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 8, 1997. He found the Lord as his Savior in May of 1950 and served the Lord with his wife on the Alaskan Mission Field for 41 years in village missions. He founded a Gospel Radio Station October 11, 1967, a FM Radio Station October 11, 1977, and a Gospel Television Station December 7, 1981. He and his wife also founded Camp Home/Bibles for Others in Northern Minnesota.

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