North High School Wall of Honor
Donald Adelbert Coon
Class of January, 1942
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
Donald Adelbert Coon
Don was a member of North High's class of January, 1942. His next of kin were listed as Mrs. Marie Phillips, 1009 27th Street, Des Moines, IA. Don's service number was 37658340.
Donald Adelbert Coon
Year   Rank   Status
January, 1942   Graduated   Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
date x Employed x Where and when?
1943 x Drafted
US Army
x Camp Dodge, IA
1943 x US Army x Basic Training at Camp Roberts, CA (near Bakersfield, CA)
*10th Mountain Infantry Division; 87th Regiment/ Signal Corps.
1943 x US Army x Ski Troop training at Camp Hale, CO.
August 15, 1943 x US Army x To Pittsburgh, CA near San Francisco for troop transport (D hold) to Aleutians/RAT Islands. (Went by LST to Attu and Kiska). Landing was August 15, 1943. There through summer, fall, and winter.
1944 x US Army/Enroute x Returned to Fort Lewis, WA (Seattle). Then back to Camp Hale, CO.
1944 x US Army/
x Had developed spots on lungs, so could not return to serve in the 10th Mountain Infantry Group. Transferred to Headquarters, Infantry Personnel at Fort Snelling, MN and Fort McCoy, WI.
February, 1946 x US Army/
x Discharged at Fort McCoy, WI (Camp McCoy, WI).
February, 1946 x Enroute x Returned to Des Moines, IA.
1946-1958 x US Army Reserve x Joined US Army Reserves at Fort Des Moines, IA. 103rd Infantry Signal Batallion. Retired as Master Sergeant in 1958.
1946-1951 x Employment x Worked at father's firm: Coon Construction.
1951-1953 x Schooling x Drake University. BS in education.
1953 x Family x

Married Carla Payton in Des Moines, IA.

x Employment x Science teacher in Des Moines Public Schools. VP at Perkins School; Principal at Goodrell Adult Education.
1989 x Retired x Retired from Des Moines Public Schools.
November,2009 x Honor Flight x Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
*10th Mountain Infantry Division; 87th Regiment Signal Batallion
The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) is a light infantry division of the United States Army based at Fort Drum, New York. It is a subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps and the only division-sized element of the US Army to specialize in fighting under harsh terrain and weather conditions. The division retains the "mountain" designation for historical purposes but is actually organized as a light infantry division.

Activated in 1943, the 10th Mountain Division was the last among currently active divisions to enter combat during World War II. (According to "World War II Order of Battle"[2] by Shelby L. Stanton, the 10th Mountain Division entered combat on January 8, 1945, followed by the 8th, 13th, 16th, and 20th Armored, and the 65th, 71st, 76th, 86th, 89th and 97th Infantry divisions in the final months of the war.) The 10th fought in the mountains of Italy in some of the roughest terrain in the country. After the war, the division was briefly redesignated as the 10th Infantry Division, a training unit, also seeing brief deployment to Germany before inactivation.

The 10th Light Division (Alpine) was constituted on July 10, 1943 and activated two days later at Camp Hale, Colorado.The division was centered around regimental commands; the 85th Infantry Regiment, 86th Infantry Regiment, and 87th Infantry Regiment. Also assigned to the division were the 604th, 605th, and 616th Field Artillery battalions, the 110th Signal Company, the 710th Ordnance Company, the 10th Quartermaster Company, the 10th Reconnaissance Troop, the 126th Engineer Battalion, the 10th Medical Battalion, and the 10th Counter-Intelligence Detachment. The 10th Light Division was unique in that it was the only division in the Army with three field artillery battalions instead of four.

In 1943-1944 10th Mountain Division was training troops at Seneca Rocks in West Virginia in aid climbing, hand signals and use of muffled piton hammers. They likely had first ascents on many of classic climbing routes, although very few were recorded. During their stay the army hammered over 75,000 pitons into cliffs of Seneca Rocks and nearby Champe Rocks and Nelson Rocks, many of them still remaining.

The division trained for one year at the 9,200 foot high Camp Hale. Soldiers trained to fight and survive under the most brutal mountain conditions, fighting with skis and snow shoes and sleeping in the snow without tents. On June 22, 1944, the division was shipped to Camp Swift, Texas to prepare for maneuvers in Louisiana, which were later canceled. A period of acclimation to a low altitude and hot climate was necessary to prepare for this training. On November 6, 1944, the 10th Division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division. That same month the blue and white "Mountain" tab was authorized for the division's new shoulder sleeve insignia.

Time Frame in Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska
June 7, 1942: Japanese forces invade Attu and Kiska, small undefended American islands near the end of the Aleutian archipelago that stretches westward from Alaska. Enemy occupation of American soil makes the residents of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest uneasy. Eventually, the Joint Chiefs of Staff will decide that the 10,000 Japanese troops in the Aleutians will have to be ousted.
November 16, 1942:
The MTC command moves from Camp Carson to Camp Hale. Currently, the Mountain Training Center command contains only one infantry regiment, the 87th. By next July, it will include the 86th Infantry Regiment and two artillery battalions in addition to several specialized units.
June 13, 1943:
The 87th Regiment moves to Fort Ord, CA for amphibious training as part of the 30,000-man Amphibian Training Force 9. Fort Ord is located about five miles north of Monterey, CA. ATF-9’s mission is to recapture the Aleutian island of Kiska, now occupied by Japanese troops (see map below). Supporting the 87th will be two artillery battalions (601st and 602nd FA), the 133rd Signal Company (derived from the 110th Signal Company), and the 229th Engineer Company (derived from the 126th Engineers).
July 29, 1943:
ATF-9, including the 87th Mtn Infantry, embarks from San Francisco and sails for Adak, in the Aleutians, where it will prepare for the invasion of Kiska. The landing at Kiska was on August 15, 1943.

For a complete chronology of the 10th Mountain Infantry Division, 87th Regiment activity in the Aleutians:

Donald Coon
Camp Hale mountain training for invasion at Attu and Kiska; August 15, 1943
Honor Flight to Washington; 11/04/09 Honor Flight to Washington; 11/04/09
(sub correct photos) Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.; November 4, 2009

US Army Seal

10th Mountain Infantry Division

Donald Adelbert Coon
Tech Sergeant
10th Mountain Infantry Division
US Army

Infantry Insignia

coming: photo of
Donald Adelbert Coon

103rd Infantry Signal Battalion

Technical Sergeant
WWII Victory; American Theater; Bronze Star; good Conduct; European African Middle Eastern Theater w/bronze battle star; Asiatic Pacific Theater

Examples of medals: WWII Victory; American Theater; Bronze Star; Good Conduct;
European African Middle Eastern Theater w/battle star (Rhineland); Asiatic Pacific Theater
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Donald Adelbert Coon's 1942 class page is:
11/23/10. Living in West Des Moines, IA.
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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