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Historic watch found at B-17 crash site

Release Number: 021207

The watch of a B-17 pilot killed in World War II was recently found at the crash site and is scheduled to be presented to the pilot's son Dec. 28 at 2 p.m in the National Guard Armory facility in Asheville, N.C. 

Maj. William Cassida will present the watch of Capt. Donald Cole to his son Donald Cole Walters, nearly 60 years after his father died for service to his country in the plane crash. Cassida is the Air Force Assistant Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in France. The watch was excavated in a dig months ago at the crash site in Nieul-les-Saintes, France. 

Capt. Cole gave his life Jan. 5, 1944 to save a small French town after bombing Nazi defense targets about 350 miles south of the D-Day landing site at Normandy--an accomplishment which his son didn't fully realize until 50 years after his father's death. Cole's story lives on as a preserved French historic site, reminding everyone of his heroic decision to give his life at the controls of the plane to save it from crashing into the village. 

Media representatives who plan on attending should contact 2nd Lt Noelle Caldwell, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, at 803-895-2019.