Don Hulse


Don Hulse
12/3/1927 - 6/1/2014

Don Hulse, born December 3, 1927, in Midian, Kansas, an oil company boom town that no longer exists, departed peacefully from earth on June 1, 2014, surrounded by loving family and friends on his great adventure into the heavenly mien.
When Don was very young, his father, an oil rigger, fell from a derrick in a rainstorm and broke his back. He survived, but, unfortunately, he also fell in love with his nurse. Don's mother, a Swedish girl (Larson) from a Western Kansas wheat farm, became sick trying to raise Don and his younger brother in the dust storms that plagued the plains states, the great depression, lack of decent employment opportunities, and abject poverty, and moved them in an antique bus to California when he was six.
In 1943, when he turned 16, and World War II in the Pacific was in its most crucial period, Don began work at the Mare Island Navy Yard as an apprentice. The Navy apprentice program allowed high school students an opportunity to participate in the war effort and to also finish high school while attending concentrated high school classes at the Navy yard. He became personally involved in the war on an emotional level when is best friends, crew members on the cruiser, USS Birmingham, a ship he worked on, were all killed in the battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
In 1945 Don enlisted in the Navy's combat aircrew program, attending combat aircrew school, aerial gunnery school, and the Naval School of Photography. After several tours of duty on ships and aviation squadrons, including a tour in China during the Chinese Civil war, where he participated in intelligence gathering flights into Communist China, survived a crash into the Yellow Sea in a PBM flying boat, and survived the explosion of several Japanese 500 pound aerial bombs under the seaplane ramp at Tsingtao, China, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Don strived to earn Navy pilot wings (last aircraft in the training program was an F6F Hellcat fighter) and a rating as an AP (enlisted Aviation Pilot), while concurrently earning a civilian commercial pilot's license; but, because of a mandatory intelligence assignment and transfer during the Korean War, his Navy flight training was suspended. The Navy AP program was also subsequently cancelled.
Before and during the Korean War he was engaged in operational intelligence involving photography. In 1959, he was appointed an Agent for the Office of Naval Intelligence, training at the Pentagon, investigating criminal, counterintelligence and security cases in Japan. His cover rank was as a civilian GS-11. He was also trained to be a polygraph examiner, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (0-3) under his first cover as a GS-11.
Don studied under Sensei (teacher) Matsumoto in Japan, earning a black belt rank in Kodokan Judo, and a brown belt in Jujitsu.
Following his retirement from the Navy in 1965, Don worked as an investigator for the Placer County District Attorney's Office. He also became a certified forensic hypnotist during his employment at the District Attorney's Office. Don met his loving wife, Mary Ann, who worked for the County Clerk, at the Placer County Courthouse. They were married July 4, 1976, during the bicentennial of the United States. He retired again in 1984.
Don, Mary Ann, and their Cessna 172 "Baby" helped form the current Auburn Civil Air Patrol squadron. They joined as: Don, Deputy Squadron Commander, Lieutenant (0-3), and Mary Ann as Squadron Personnel Officer.
Don earned a BA degree (Administration of Justice) from Golden Gate University in 1974 and an MA degree (Psychology) from Loyola University in 1979. He completed his autobiography (426 single-spaced pages) on his 80th birthday. Don and Mary Ann are members of the Navy League and Don was a happy participant at Chamber of Commerce Meddlers meetings.
Survivors include his loving wife, Mary Ann, her children: Diana (Jim), Donna, Steve (Ann), Shauna (Nick), their children: Adam, Steven, Tristen, Leahloni, Kylee, and more loving family than space provides. Also surviving are Don's three children by a previous marriage: Doni (Steve), and their daughter Holly; Ceil, son Donald; Robin and her daughter Hillary. An important survivor to Don is his grandson Paul, and Paul's family: Lori, and sons: Nick, Eric and Austin. Paul is a Colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF).
At Don's request there will be no service. A family gathering will take place at a later date. His ashes will be interned in the Newcastle Cemetery.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on June 8, 2014
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