Damon Jesse Gause

Damon Jesse Gause (17 June 1915 – 9 March 1944) was a United States Army Air Corps officer. He was captured and escaped from Bataan, then Corregidor. He served with the Ninth Air Force and flew with the Hell Hawks.

Plaque honoring Gause at the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame

Life and timesEdit

Gause was born on 17 June 1915 at Fort Valley in Peach County, Georgia, the son of Duff Adolph Gause (1893–1965) and Jescyne W. Gause (1895–1978). The couple had two additional sons, Wilson A. Gause (1923–2006) and John Winston Gause (1925–2005). On 11 October 1941, Gause married Lillian Ruth Evans Carter (1921–2014) and the couple had one son Damon Lance Gause (1943–2006). He died at the Isle of Wight in England on 9 March 1944 when the plane he was flying crashed. Gause was buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England at plot: Plot F Row 3 Grave 85.[1][2][3]

Education and trainingEdit

Gause graduated from the Martin Institute High School. After high school, he attended the University of Georgia. After one year at the University of Georgia, Gause left school to join the United States Coast Guard.


In the US Coast Guard, Gause was assigned to the USCG Cutter Argo (WPC-100), where his main duty was radioman. He joined the Army Air Corps to serve in Panama after three years of service in the Coast Guard. Following a three-year stint in the Army, he went to work in the oil fields in Colombia for the Texaco Oil Company. In 1939, Gause went back to Georgia. He again enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and qualified for flight training at Kelly Field in Texas. Gause completed the training and earned his wings as an aircraft pilot and received a commission as second lieutenant. He returned to Georgia, this time at Savannah, Georgia to serve with the 27th Bombardment Group. He trained on A-24 Banshee dive-bombers.

Operation PLUMEdit

  • The Philippines. Gause, 2nd Lieutenant, 17th Squadron, 27th Bombardment Group, in the Philippines.
  • The Great Escape of Major Gause.[4][5][6]


  • Safe Again in Australia.[7]


On 13 February 1944, 1st Lieutenant Harold B. Johnston took off from Gosfield, England in a P-47 Thunderbolt for a test flight, and died when his plane crashed only nine days before the first combat mission of the Hell Hawks and the P-47s. The Hell Hawks were part of the Ninth Air Force. The combat mission occurred on 22 February 1944 with several groups taking part in an uneventful run to escort bombers. Colonel Lance Call led one group. Another group was led by Major Rockford V. Gray, with Gause as wingman. Other groups were led by Major Donald E. Hillman and Major William D. Ritchie. In preparation to support the Allied invasion of Europe, the Hell Hawks moved with the 365th Fighter Group to RAF Beaulieu, Hants, England on 5 March 1944. During a test flight on 9 March 1944, Gause was killed when his P-47 crashed near Beaulieu, England.[8][9]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Accolades and honorsEdit

In Georgia, U.S. Highway 129 South, also known as the Major Damon Gause Bypass is named in his honor.[10]


  • Gause, Damon Rocky (1999). The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause. D. L. Gause (Ed.). Hyperion Books. ISBN 0786884215
  • Osborne, William L. (18 July 2013). Voyage into the Wind. CreateSpace. ISBN 1490318917


  1. ^ Find A Grave Index. Database, FamilySearch. Damon Jesse Gause, 1944. Burial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England, Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. Citing record ID 9664409. Find a Grave.
  2. ^ Benson, Kit and Benson, Morgan. (18 October 2004). Maj Damon Jesse Gause. Find A Grave Memorial# 9664409. Find a Grave.
  3. ^ Wallace, Kay. (2016). Damon Gause. Defenders of the Philippines. American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor. Brooke County Public Library. Wellsburg, West Virginia.
  4. ^ Martin, Chris R. (26 August 2008). The Great Escape of Major Gause. Voices. The Explorer. Tucson Local Media. Tucson, Arizona.
  5. ^ Miller, R. G. (2009). Operation Plum: The Ill-fated 27th Bombardment Group and the Fight for the Western Pacific. Air Power History. 56(3): 59-61.
  6. ^ Mortimer, Gavin. (2013). Merrill's Marauders: The Untold Story of Unit Galahad and the Toughest Special Forces Mission of World War II. Zenith Press.
  7. ^ Editor. (7 November 1942). Safe Again in Australia. The Mirror. Perth, Western Australia. Australia. Page 5.
  8. ^ Dorr, R. F., & Jones, T. D. (2010). Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht. Zenith Press.
  9. ^ Editor. (2012). Damon J. Gause. 365th Fighter Group. Official Site of the Hell Hawks. Hell Hawks Association.
  10. ^ Editor. (18 December 1997). Major Damon J. Gause Bypass — Designated. A Resolution by the State Transportation Board of Georgia 1997. Georgia Department of Transportation. Georgia.

External linksEdit