DeLandite Sgt. 1st Class Donald Bing served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 2004, first in the infantry and later in an armored division.
Growing up between South Carolina and Florida, Bing returned to DeLand after retiring from the Army to be close to family who live in DeLeon Springs.
Born in 1964, Bing enlisted on his 18th birthday, and by the end of his career, he had earned a number of honors, including a Bronze Star for time served during Operation Desert Storm.
Bing’s inspiration to enlist was his uncle, DeLandite James Wright, who served before him.
“Donald grew up seeing his uncle in this nice, clean uniform, and that’s who he wanted to be like,” his wife, Gwendilla Bing, told The Beacon. “Being of a smaller stature, his mom didn’t let him play sports, but she did allow him to be a part of ROTC.”
Even after retiring, Bing’s years of service are always top of mind, Gwendilla Bing said.
“He has a thing he says: ‘I served 22 years, two months and 19 days.’ He knows it to the day,” she said. “While we were dating, he would say it so much that I memorized it. He honors that time because there’s so many who didn’t make it.”
During his service, Donald Bing was deployed to Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He served in the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm.
The majority of his tenure with the Army was spent with an armored division as part of a tank brigade.
Donald Bing achieved the rank of master gunner instructor for the U.S. Armor School. Though retired, he’s still providing instruction for Army personnel.
While her husband is modest about his service, Gwendilla Bing said she knew he would appreciate being honored as one of DeLand’s Hometown Heroes.
“He’s so humble,” she said. “He says he did whatever he needed to do to serve his country.”