Donald W. Handegaard was born on October 18, 1921 in Dale, Clay County Minnesota. His parents were Tobias M. and Edith Backman Handegaard, they were both born in Minnesota and Tobias was a mail carrier. Donald had three sisters Edna, Myrtle and Eleanor. He graduated from the Northwest School of Agriculture and attended both Moorhead State College and University of MN.
Donald was a student at the University of Minnesota at the time he registered in February 1942. He then enlisted in the Army Air Forces and served during World War II. He had the rank of Second Lieutenant and served with the 84th Troop Carrier Squadron, 437th Troop Carrier Group as a Co Pilot on C-47ís.
Handegaard lost his life on June 6, 1944. He was one the crew of the C-47 Skytrain #42-100803. The crew was taking part in their first combat mission during D-Day over Normandy, France. After all paratroopers bailed out, the aircraft was shot down by the German flak, dove into the ground and crashed in a field near Cherbourg. All four crew members were killed. 2LT Handegaard is buried now in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA. His name is commemorated on a plaque located at the Holy Cross Church in Ramsbury, England but his surname is spelled "Handigard."
C-47 #42-100803 crew:
Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Donald W Handegaard, MN
Radio Operator: Sgt. Charles R Kittle, OH
Pilot: 1st Lt. Jack A Lawson, KS
Bombardier: T/Sgt. Henry S Maranz, NJ
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, www.abmc.gov, www.fold3.com