Name: Theodore Michael McDonaldRank:PrivateService Number: (36201028), 36246219Service: 1st Special Service Force, US ArmyAwards:Bronze Star, Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf ClustersDate of Birth:March 24, 1916Place of Birth: Ingonish, Victoria Co., Cape Breton, NSDate of Enlistment:September 27, 1941Place of Enlistment:Scott Field, IllinoisAge at Enlistment:26Address at Enlistment:La Crosse, WisconsinOccupation:Actor, Carpenter’s apprenticeHeight:5 feet, 7 ½ inchesComplexion:LightHair Color:BlondEye Color:BlueDate of Death: September 9, 1944Age: 28Cemetery: Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, FranceGrave: Tablets of the MissingTheodore Michael McDonald was the son of John James McDonald (1881-1956) and Rosalie ‘Rose’ (Karpinski) McDonald (1889–1980). His mother was of born in Wisconsin; his father in Ingonish, NS. Theodore had three sisters, Virginia Elizabeth (1912-2002), Vivian Rose (1914-1986), and Pauline Eleanor (1919-1994). Theodore’s entire family moved to the US in 1920, his mother and the four children crossing at Detroit, Michigan on November 24, 1920, and settled in Wisconsin.Theodore attended La Crosse Central High School in La Crosse, WI. He registered for the US Draft October 16, 1940, in Madison, WI. He was a student at the University of Wisconsin at the time and completed two-three years of civil engineering.Upon initial enlistment with the USAAF as an Air Cadet, William trained at Scott Field, Illinois, and Harvey airport, Missouri. After an accident at the latter, he was discharged from the air force and returned home.He re-enlisted June 17, 1942, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and transferred to Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena, Montana for basic training. He volunteered for the paratroops and was sent to Camp Ethan Allen, Virginia, and later entered commando training at Norfolk, VA. He served in Alaska with Canadian and American paratroops of the FSSF in Operation Cottage during the Kiska Campaign in the Aleutian Islands, and returned home on furlough in September of 1943, leaving in October to go overseas.Private McDonald was wounded twice in Europe, first in the leg and shoulder on December 4, 1943 while serving in North Africa and the second time on May 29, 1944 in Italy, when shrapnel struck him in the chest. He was awarded the purple heart in January 1944.On September 7, 1944, the First Special Service Force moved to defensive positions on the Franco-Italian border with the 1st Airborne Task Force. Theodore was reported Missing in Action and presumed dead September 9, 1944. Little is known about the circumstances of his death.Private Theodore Michael McDonald is commemorated at the Rhone American Cemetery. He is listed with nearly 300 names, those who’s bodies were never found, inscribed on the terrace wall outside the memorial. On the face of the Memorial, an angel peace watches over the graves, and olive trees among the headstones add to the tranquility of this peaceful place with secluded gardens providing space for quiet contemplation. The First Special Service Force was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor awarded by the US Congress.
Theodore school Photo 1933
La Crosse Tribune, Saturday, October 4, 1944:Mr. and Mrs. J. J. McDonald, 1701 ½ Adams Street, [La Crosse, Wisconsin] formerly of 2202 South 16th Street, received word Saturday morning that their son, Sgt. Theodore Michael McDonald, has been reported missing in action since Sept. 9 in France. The communication was from J. A. Ulio, adjutant general.Sgt. McDonald was wounded twice, first in the leg and shoulder Dec. 4, 1943, while serving in North Africa and the second time May 29 of this year in Italy, when shrapnel struck him in the chest. He was awarded the purple heart in January, 1944.McDonald, a Central graduate, enlisted in the army in January of 1941 after having studied civil engineering for three years at the University of Wisconsin. He received his training at Scott Field, Ill., and Harvey airport, Mo. After an accident at the latter place, he was discharged from the air force and returned home.Re-entering two months later he went to Helena, Mont., for basic training, volunteered for the paratroops and was sent to Camp Ethan Allen, Va., and later entered commando training at Norfolk, Va. He served in Alaska with Canadian and American paratroops and came home on furlough in September of 1943, leaving in October to go overseas.