November 17, 2016 - Regarding Don Guimont

Don Guimont was 19 when he was flying in a B-24 Liberator over Europe during the height of World War II. He was one of “The Flying Horsemen” of the 449th Bombardment Group (Fifteenth Air Force, 47th Wing) based in Grottaglie, Italy, beginning in late 1943. By the first of January 1944, Don's squadron was ready to commence combat operations, flying over Europe from then until the end of the war in May 1945. Between 1944 and VE-Day in 1945, he flew in 35 combat missions, mostly direct flights over the Italian and Swiss Alps to targets throughout Germany, France and Austria. Although his B-24 was hit countless times, no crew member in Don's aircraft was injured, much less killed. That was an extraordinary feat considering that between January 1944 and May 1945, the 449th Bomb Group lost 101 aircraft. 1


Our heart goes out to Joan Guimont after hearing of Dr. Don Guimont ’s recent passing. Joan and Don were one of the first couples to befriend Shirl and I when we joined the Cotillion. He surely loved to dance. He would ask Shirl to dance every time the jazz swing song 'Going to Kansas City' was played. Later we learned that he was asking the band to play the song because it was his favorite dance song.


Don was the first person to warn Shirl and I about being targeted by Larry Wolfe to be President of Cotillion. We thought he was joking. Little did we know at the time that his knowing smile was the body language of a wise sage. We enjoyed listening to the stories of Joan and Don starting their medical practice in Hawaii; working together to serve their community and enjoying each other's contributions.


Our efforts would not be wasted if we taught our children to emulate the life choices of these two wonderful people. We thank you for your service and we will miss you, Don.


(byline: Rob and Shirl Spade)

1 - (service history highlights attributed to Norm Noble research - May. 23, 2009 08:00 AM, Special for The Republic)