DONALD F. MASTERS
Captain | Armor
In photos he sent to his wife, Don notates himself as 'your old man,' and by the time he was in Korea, he sure was an old soldier at the age of thirty-six, more than half of those years being in the Army. When he was just fifteen he enlisted in the California National Guard until entering active service for the Pacific theater during the first years of World War II. He finished the war in Europe with B Company, 740th Tank Battalion. He joined the unit in the midst of the Ardennes campaign when the unit had been reduced to half strength during the winter battle. They moved into Germany supporting a number of infantry units, and unlike their foot soldier comrades, the tankers did not go into reserve - only breaking for maintenance and repairs. Because of his experience in the armor branch, he was assigned to the 140th Tank Battalion when the 40th Division was federalized for Korean service.
On June 2, 1952 Lieutenant Masters volunteered for a tank recovery mission. Knowing the Americans would return for the abandoned armor, the Chinese had the area zeroed and fired artillery and machine guns into the position, wounding Sergeant Davis. Don rushed over and began to couple the vehicles when he became pinned by the tow bar, injuring him enough that he had to be taken aside. He continued to supervise and gave aid to him before pulling himself to his feet and continuing with the mission.
As with many awards for valor, Don's courage was a combination of bravery and stubborn devotion to duty. From the photos included in this group, it looks like Don had insatiable spirit. Always smiling, friendly with both officers and enlisted men, he was not the typical type of career soldier that the Army breeds. Surely the men under his command were pleased to have served with him.
In the field with the 140th Tank Battalion in Korea
In Japan before deployment
I Company, 185th Infantry 1939
B Company, 140th Tank Battalion 1951