Colonel Donald F. Perkins entered the University of New Hampshire in 1939. He spent his freshmen and sophomore years there, before his college education was interrupted by a tour of duty in the service. The ROTC program at UNH paid off for him as he entered the United States Air Force and was commissioned a second lieutenant in December of 1942. After successfully completing the aviation cadet program, he was assigned to a B-17 bomber crew stationed overseas in England. He flew twenty-five combat missions in the European Theater of Operations of World War II as a senior aircraft observer. After victory was achieved in WWII, he was discharged from active duty in 1945.
Colonel Perkins returned to UNH along with many other war veterans and continued his college career where he had left off in 1942. His hockey skills were better than ever and he was elected captain of the team in his senior year. He was also the leading scorer once again, was chosen All-New England forward, and was nominated for the 1948 Olympic team. On campus, he received the Hood Achievement Award, was president of the Student Council, and was chosen to Who’s Who in American Universities. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology.
After graduation, President Truman selected Don Perkins along with a number of other WWII veterans to be commissioned as Regular officers in the post-war United States Air Force. He attended the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry AFB, after which he was assigned as an intelligence officer with a Strategic Air Command (SAC) unit in London.
Subsequent assignments with SAC led to his assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at command headquarters, Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Colonel Perkins left SAC headquarters in 1965 for a two-year assignment as a staff intelligence officer in Hawaii. He was assigned to USAF Headquarters in 1967. He was selected and served in several special duty assignments. These special assignments included military aide to Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma on an extensive tour of U.S. installations, and special project officer with then U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge at the United Nations in New York. At the end of his 30 years of active duty, he served as the Director of the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center.
During his military career, he was stationed in different parts of the world from England to Hawaii, and traveled seven different countries. He also made seven different trips to Vietnam between 1965 and 1967.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, four awards of the Air Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Commendation Medal, European Theater and American Theater Medals, and Unit Citations.
Colonel Perkins retired from the Air Force in 1972 and settled in Dallas, Texas. There, he worked in public relations with the Texas Rangers Baseball Team. He eventually moved back to New England and began a career lobstering in Kennebunkport, Maine. Donald Perkins was honored at UNH in 1995, when he was inducted in the Athletic Hall of Fame.
For outstanding service and leadership to the United States Air Force and National Security, Colonel Donald F. Perkins is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.