Retired Brig. Gen. Donald John Campbell, a native of Cincinnati and a 1939 graduate of Western Hills High School, died Saturday, May 12, 2007 of multiple illnesses. He was 87.

 

A World War II Army pilot, Mr. Campbell later served as commander of the 302nd Troop Carrier Wing at Clinton County AFB in Wilmington, Ohio, and as deputy commander of the Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery this summer.

Born in Cincinnati on Nov. 13, 1919, he was the son of John Campbell and Elsie Rosemeyer Campbell. Days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Mr. Campbell entered Army Air Corps cadet flying training in California. He married fellow West High graduate Elizabeth Mae Van Harten while in training.

He volunteered to serve overseas and three weeks after his wedding shipped out to the South Pacific. He flew the P-38 Lightning heavy fighter plane and the P-39 Airacobra fighter.

From 1942 to 1944, Mr. Campbell rose to be squadron commander of the Army Air Corps' 36th Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, based in Milne Bay, New Guinea. The 5th Air Force played a major role in pushing the Japanese back to their home islands.

After a short time in the states, Mr. Campbell spent a year as a liaison officer flying the P-51 Mustang fighter with the Nationalist Chinese forces. After the war, he commanded an early version of the Air Force's aerial demonstration team out of Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton.

He was commander of the 302nd Troop Carrier Wing from 1952 until 1970 when he went to the Pentagon to serve as deputy commander of the Air Force Reserve.

Mr. Campbell attained the rank of brigadier general in 1962. He retired to Vienna, Va., in 1977. In 1988, he built a house on Escambia Bay in Pensacola, Fla., where he lived with his wife until his death.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Elizabeth Mae (Van Harten) Campbell; four sons and their wives, Craig and Tricia of Virginia Beach, Va., Donald and Patty of Elizabethtown, Mark and Cathy of Saginaw, Mich., and Chris and Julie of Fairfax, Va.; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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