Major Donald L. Thurman USAF ’56

Although the life of Don Thurman was cut short, it personified courage and service to others. While at SHS, Don was a straight ‘A’ student, business manager of the Scarlet S yearbook, sang in the choir, was president of the Thespian Club for two years, active in the ‘S’ Club, played football and ran track all four years, served his senior class as vice president and represented the school at Buckeye Boys State.

Afterward, observes an alum, “Don brought honor to his family, school and hometown by being a member of the second graduating class of the United States Air Force Academy in 1960.” While there, he served as an honor representative of the 1960’s Ring Committee, Protestant Cadet Choir and Cadet Aid Club. Twice he was named to the superintendent’s merit list. Don graduated with honors and was recognized for achieving the highest grades.

He was the first Air Force Academy graduate to attend the Test Pilot Training School. After graduating from Aerospace Research Pilot School, he was groomed for future roles as a space pilot, project manager and consultant.

In 1969-70, Don completed more than 200 missions in Vietnam. He died on June 26, 1971 from injuries sustained while ejecting from a B-57 bomber during a training mission at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He had received orders and was preparing to attend Air Command & Staff School at the time of his death.

Concludes an alum, “Major Donald Thurman led a life dedicated to his family and country.”

Nominator: Dave Spangler ’66 who lives in Shelby.

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