© 2022
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Flying Fallgatters

Ways To Subscribe

Like many kids growing up in the 1920s and 30s, the brothers were fascinated with airplanes. On the rare occasion when an airplane would fly over Kintyre in those early days, chores were forgotten as the boys would chase it 'til it disappeared in the distance.

The siblings dreamed of flying, but with the Great Depression of the 30s, the chances of the brothers paying for flight lessons and an airplane were practically nil, but history intervened as World War II began.

Robert Fallgatter was born on January 3rd, 1918. He graduated from Kintyre High School in 1935. Bob went on to Lyons Township College in LaGrange, Illinois. In the fall of 1937, he enrolled in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana in Missoula. He worked at Glacier Park as a Ranger until he joined the Navy Air Corp in 1941, becoming a fighter pilot in Air Group 20, flying off the carriers, Enterprise and Lexington. He earned the Navy Cross and 5 Air Medals.

Calvin Fallgatter was born in 1920. After High School, Cal graduated from Jamestown College in 1942. He also joined the Navy Air Corp and flew dive bombers. On his last mission he ran out of fuel and crashed just short of the carrier and was rescued from his sinking plane. He was sent stateside to recover from his injuries, then spent the rest of the war as a flight instructor in Texas.

Wayne Fallgatter, born in 1922, went to Jamestown College, then followed his brothers by joining the Navy Air Corp after his Junior year. He ending up flying Avenger Torpedo Bombers in the Pacific with Torpedo Squadron 20.

Wallace Fallgatter, the youngest of the four, was born in 1924. He joined the Navy in 1943 and also learned to fly. When Wally expressed worry about passing and getting his wings, his brothers sternly told him, “You’d BETTER pass!!”

After the war the boys married, had kids, and led normal lives. Their service in World War II, however, would label them forever as “The Flying Fallgatters.”

Calvin and Wallace passed away in 2008. Wayne, the last of the Flying Fallgatters, passed in 2020.

Dakota Datebook by Scott Nelson

Sources:
Obituaries for Robart, Calvin, Wayne, Wallace Fallgatter.
Bismarck Tribune article,11 March 1950, 11 Nov. 2003, The Flying Fallgatters

Related Content