Donald H. Kitzman Biography-1: Overview
The Holux Watch Connection:
Lt. Kitzman graduated from Douglas Air Field AZ, Class 44-A, on January 7, 1944 (along with Charles Mapes). (He did not attend Luke Air Base with Buttner, Riha, and Brew). Prior to his advanced training at Douglas, Kitzman received pilot training at Santa Ana, Oxnard, and Lemoore California – where William Buttner was also stationed.
Upon his graduation from Douglas, Kitzman was sent to Pyote Tx ("Rattlesnake Bomber Base") for B-17 training.
Lt. Donald Kitzman (1923 - 2020)
Lt. Donald Harold Kitzman was the last surviving pilot; he died on March 19, 2020 at age 97. He was a WW2 B-17 copilot with the 322nd Bomb Squadron, based at RAF field at Bassingbourn, England. His plane (B-17 #44-6298 - “Heavenly Body / White Cargo)” was shot down and crashed on November 2,1944 near Neugattersleben, Germany. Six of the nine crew members were killed; the other three (Donald Kitzman, Ray Reitshal, and Fred Boettke) were held as German POWs until the end of the war. Lt. Kitzman was imprisoned at Stalag Luft III and Stalag 7A until he was liberated on April 29th, 1945.
Kitzman was born in the small community of What Cheer, Iowa in 1923. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Nov 5, 1942. Lt. Kitzman was a member of Class 44-A at Douglas Army Air Field AZ – the Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School for multi-engine planes.
Donald married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Vanden Heiden in 1946; the Kitzmans had four children. Donald remained an Air Force officer until 1965, and Kitzman retired as a Major.
In August 2019, I was able to contact Sharon Berube, Donald Kitzman’s daughter. She emailed me with some stunning information: “Hello Bob, I am thrilled that you reached out to me regarding my father‘s World War II military watch. I would like to speak with you in the next few days. I’m pleased to tell you that my father is 96 and still alive. He very interested in this message that you sent me. His recollection of events during that era are very vivid.”