ROBERT DONALDSON, LT, USN
Robert Donaldson '34
Date of birth: July 23, 1912
Date of death: February 8, 1943
From the 1934 Lucky Bag:
Robert was lost on February 8, 1943 when the aircraft he was piloting crashed near Hampton Roads, Virginia. "He radioed that he was having aerlion trouble and shortly thereafter apparently bailed out. He was either too low or his parachute did not properly deploy and he was killed on impact." He was commanding officer of Scouting Squadron (VS) 9. (From naval aviation historian Richard Leonard via email on April 3, 2018.)
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Robert began his career aboard USS New Mexico (BB 40), according to the 1934, 1935, and 1936 Navy Directories. In the 1937 Navy Directory he is listed as "under instruction" at NAS Pensacola, Florida; he became naval aviator #5260 on July 6, 1937.
In the 1938 Navy Directory he is a member of Scouting Squadron (VS) 5, aboard USS Yorktown (CV 5). In 1939 and 1940 he was a member of Observation Squadron (VO) 4 aboard USS Maryland (BB 46).
The 1941 Navy Directory lists him as a member of the aviation unit aboard USS Noa (DD 343). Noa was part of an experiment in placing scout aircraft on destroyers.
Robert's class ring is a part of the collection of the Naval Academy Museum.
The previous commanding officer of Scouting Squadron (VS) 9, John Yoho '29, was lost barely a month before.