Buchwald, Donald F. (605th)

Donald F Buchwald 1Donald F. Buchwald

Biography:  Donald Frank Buchwald “Don” was born September 10, 1907, in Marshalltown, Iowa.  He was the oldest of three children born to Frank A. Buchwald and Zoe Neoma Hay.  Don graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1926, and attended the University of Iowa for a semester later that same year.

Service Time:  Don started his military career with Company H, 168th Infantry, Iowa National Guard, on February 4, 1925.  He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point , on July 1, 1927, graduating on June 11, 1931.  Don married Catherine C. Montgomery the same day in Newburgh, New York.  She was the daughter of James Montgomery and Florence Crawford and was born in Newburgh.  The new couple had a son and daughter during their years together. 

He soon reported to his first duty station at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Company K, 3rd Infantry, where he became commander in 1932.  He attended the Air Corps Training Center, Randolph Field, Texas, in 1935 but “washed out” due to a depth perception problem.  Next was Fort Hamilton, NY, and Co. D, 18th Infantry, followed by the Infantry School for a year of schooling.  His new assignment was to Fort William D. Davis in the Canal Zone, Panama, with Co. M, 14th Infantry.  In September 1939, he joined the 2nd Field Artillery at Fort Clayton, Canal Zone.  Fort Knox, Kentucky, was next with the 19th Field Artillery Battalion where he commanded Battery E of the 19th and Battery C of the 46th Field Artillery Bn.  In January, 1941, he attended the Field Artillery School.  Upon his return, he joined the 5th Anti-Tank Battalion (Provisional) at Camp Custer, Michigan.  They participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers from August to October, 1941, and were redesignated the 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion in December.  Remaining with the 605th, Don attended courses at the Command & General Staff College and the Tank Destroyer School.

Donald F Buchwald 2Continuing their training, the unit moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers.  They arrived at Clyde, Scotland, on Dec 16, 1944, and once on the European continent, entered combat on Feb 16, 1945, near Tevern, Germany.  The Roer River was crossed on February 24, and they joined the drive to the Rhine River.  Deployed to the Remagen bridgehead on March 12th, they were withdrawn on the 17th and sent to Belgium to support British armored forces.  Almost immediately, they were attached to the 17th Airborne Division, crossing the Rhine River on March 24th, at Xanten, fighting for the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket in April. They crossed the Elbe River on April 30th through May 1st, at Bleckede, Germany. The 605th received credit for the campaigns of Rhineland and Central Europe.

Don’s next duty was with the Theater Service Forces where he assumed command of the 19 AAA Group in November, 1945.  1946 & 1947 saw him attend the Army Information School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, then back to Europe to be Assistant Chief of Staff of the Plans Division of the Chief of Civil Affairs, and returning to Carlisle to serve on the post staff.  When the President seized the railroads in 1948, he was assigned to represent the U.S. with the Reading Railroad.

He assumed command of the 36th FA Bn at Fort Lewis, Washington, on March 20, 1950, and in November, he became Asst. G3 for plans, operations and training for Fort Lewis.  On March 17, 1951, he reactivated the III Corps Artillery, serving and commanding until July 31st when he deployed to Korea.  There, he was Chief of the G4 Supply Division for the Eighth Army, helping to create the Korean Communications Zone and serving as financial advisor to the Korean government.  He completed his tour as Deputy G4, in 1953.

Don served as Artillery Officer for the Fifth Army at Chicago from 1953-56.  At Fort Lee, Virginia, he attended a supply course before deploying to Verdun, France, for duty with the Advance Section, USAEUR Communications Zone, as Deputy Commander for Logistics and, subsequently, Chief of Staff.  Don returned to the U.S. in 1959, as Professor of Military Science and Training at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR.  He retired on August 1, 1961, as a Colonel, Military Code N5.  His decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal, French Croix de Guerre with gold star, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

After his retirement, he and Catherine returned to Newburgh where Don joined the New York Military Academy as Commandant of the Junior School.  Upon his second retirement on July 1, 1974, he was Head of the Social Science Department.  After Catherine’s death, he married Edythe N. Himes on November 21, 1972.  They moved to Elkhart, Indiana, in 1981, where Don passed away on December 19, 1988.  He is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, NY.

Much of the information used for this tribute was retrieved from Ancestry.com and from his memorial on the West Point Association of Graduates website. We would like to thank Rachelle Lewis for sharing the main photo and E-Yearbook.com for the photo of Don as a cadet at West Point. That photo is used by permission of Digital Data Online, Inc.