Donald Lewis Keplinger was the son of Everette Ray Keplinger and Mary Magdeline Gallion.

Submarine USS Grayling SS-209
Loss Date September 9, 1943
Location In or near Tablas Strait, Philippine Islands
Circumstances Lost at sea, cause unknown

Grayling began her eighth and last war patrol in July 1943 from Fremantle, Australia but was not heard from again after 9 September 1943. Grayling was officially reported lost with all hands 30 september 1943, after having recorded five major kills totaling 20,575 tons. Even today, the exact cause of the loss of Grayling is unknown, but on 9 September 1943, Japanese passenger-cargo vessel Hokuan Mary reported a submarine in shallow water west of Luzon. The ship made a run over the area and noted an impact with a submerged object. It is assumed the object was Grayling. The submarine was scheduled to make a radio report on the 12th, which she did not, and all attempts to contact her failed.USS Grayling (SS-209) was lost with 76 officers and men.

The Johnson City Press, 24 January 1946
Donald Lewis Keplinger, radioman third class, USN, son of E.R. Keplinger of Jonesboro, route 3, has been reported dead by the Navy Department. He previously was listed missing in action. Keplinger, 22, volunteered for service November 19, 1940. He received basic training at New Haven, Conn., and later was sent to the South Pacific, where he participated in many major patrols. He survived the enemy’s attack on Pearl Harbour. The Washington countian was serving aboard the U.S. Grayling sub-marine at the time he was reported missing about 27 months ago. His family recently received his Submarine Combat Insignia and a citation. The insignia signifies he participated in four or more successful patrols, and assisted in sinking several enemy vessels. Three brothers of Keplinger also served with the armed forces during the war. Allen Keplinger saw action in Europe; Ray Keplinger was instructor of radio courses at Yuma, Ariz., and Clyde Keplinger, a veteran of 26 months of duty in the Southwest Pacific area.

  • Rank: Radioman Third Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 5 April 1923
  • Date of death: 9 September 1943
  • County: Unicoi
  • Hometown: Erwin
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: USS Grayling (SS-209)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Pearl Harbor
  • Awards: Purple Heart, Submarine Combat Insignia
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XIX, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Donald L. Keplinger

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