This is his grandson and son responding. We're having a quiet afternoon at home and thought we should give this a try. Anyway, here's his bio:

B-24 Bombardier-European Theater: 1943-1944

POW-Germany Stalag Luft III and Stalag VII: 1944-1945

Fighter Pilot Training: 1945-1946

P-47 Pilot Pacific Theater: 1947-1948

Multi-type Aircraft Instructor Washington D C: 1948-1950

Proof: pics of my Grandpa

EDIT: Aircraft types he's flown: *P-47 *P-51 *F-84 *A-26 *B-25 *DC-3 *B-26 *And I was a bombardier and got shot down in the B-24

EDIT 2: Heres some pics of restored aircraft at an air show I went to, and some formatting

EDIT 3: Hey we're signing off for the night. My 91 year old grandfather needs his beauty sleep :) We'll come by tomorrow and answer any questions left over.

Also, thank you everyone for all the great comments and questions!

EDIT 4: We're back! Thanks so much for the up-votes and comments! My grandpa is still a little groggy so I'll start answering some questions and let him settle in. (0654 PDT)

EDIT 5: Signing off again. But we'll be back later today. Grandson: I can't tell you guys how thankful I am! You guys have made my Grandpa's month. (1010 PDT)

EDIT 6: Signing off tonight at 21:30 PDT. Try to return tomorrow and answer open questions. Thanks for your interest and kind words.

Comments: 398 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

JoshHawj100 karma

How did you get out from the airplane/survive the crash?

IamaWW2POW204 karma

We got attacked in southern Germany. We were able to make it to Yugoslavia but were so badly damaged that aircraft couldn't sustain flight. All ten of us parachuted out and survived.

EDIT: My grandson made a mistake. Aircraft get damaged not injured. We lost two engines.

WaterConCowboy73 karma

When you parachuted out, was that the first time that you had ever done so or had you practiced parachuting before?

IamaWW2POW180 karma

First time for everyone on the plane. There were thousands of zoomies and not enough time to train everyone. They told you to count and pull the cord on your chest, that was about it.

....they did tell us to unfasten the belly belt on the way down so we could get out quickly and run.

WaterConCowboy67 karma


IamaWW2POW293 karma

I always say that we were a generation strained in a very specific way. The depression had a huge influence on my life and still plays a role in who I am. I think people were more prepared for hardship back then than they are today. That being said some of the service members today have been at war for over ten years. And they are volunteers. We were not tested like that.

FW19017 karma

Do you remember where over Yugoslavia you bailed out?

IamaWW2POW22 karma

I'm not sure what part. I do know it took a heck of a long time to get to Germany. We took a truck to a train and rode the train for a day to Dulag Luft right near Vienna basically a processing area. From there we got on a prison train up to Luft III

IamaWW2POW6 karma

No, I remember it took us a day by truck to get to the first place in Germany.

jackamoxc17 karma

Sorry this is late... Did you by any chance know a Flying Fortress pilot by the last name of turbine?

IamaWW2POW27 karma

No can't remember anyone by that name.

IamaWW2POW37 karma

I'll keep thinking about it though.

amarxistllama86 karma

Hello! Sorry if this is too late to ask. I'm a huge fan of the Jug! What did you think of it compared to the Mustang?

IamaWW2POW214 karma

Jugs! I flew those for 8 months in the pacific. They were heavy but they had a great turning radius and they were tough to beat up at altitude. We would always tease the Marines in the F-4Fs and try to get them to follow us up to 25,000 ft.....

Lots of firepower!

hummahumma108 karma

The fact that this question can still be answered by an actual WWII pilot, in real life, is fantastic.

IamaWW2POW193 karma

Not only that you get a picture, too!

amarxistllama14 karma

Wow, thanks for both of your replies! That's awesome. What model Jug is that? A P-47D?

IamaWW2POW43 karma

It was the P-47N. When I got there they were all N's. It had an autopilot! We all thought that was pretty crazy. You had to have a wingman monitor you while you used it, you were supposed to at least.

amarxistllama5 karma

Ah, the N! My favourite Jug model! Did you ever fly earlier versions of it, or just the N? Could you tell me more about the autopilot as well? That sounds really interesting!

And thanks so much for your replies! And thanks for your service!

IamaWW2POW16 karma

No, I didn't fly any earlier versions. The autopilot had its own gyro. You'd kick the rudder pedals in and the backs had padded foot rests. It was definitely more comfortable than a 51.

Liempt73 karma

How would you describe the demeanor of your captors? Were they friendly to you? Distant? Rude?

Did you establish any relationships with any of them?

IamaWW2POW160 karma

I wouldn't say they were friendly but they weren't overtly hostile. And it changed as we were moved from Stalag Luft 3 to Stalag 13 to Stalag 7. By the time we got to Stalag 7 (Feb 1945) the guards were mostly old men and understood that Germany would lose the war. They were more fearful than intimidating. I didn't speak German so didn't develop any relationships withe the guards

Liempt73 karma

Thanks for the reply.

And I missed this in the original post, so I'll say it here: Thank you, sir, for your sacrifices for your country, and for the sake of winning the war. I have tremendous respect for what you folks did and I think it's awesome that you're willing to come on reddit and share your experiences with us.

IamaWW2POW122 karma

You're welcome! It's so neat having so many people interested.

blarghusmaximus71 karma

Describe being shot down, I cant imagine anything more terrifying

IamaWW2POW141 karma

I really didn't have time to think about it. The pilot said "Get out!"...That's what I did. (I had to scramble to get the parachute on, though.) I jumped with the Co-pilot.

Not_Doing_Things18 karma

What happened to the pilot? Did he manage to get out in time?

Also, were you his friend? Didn't you hesitate in leaving him?

Thanks for your service!

IamaWW2POW51 karma

All ten of us got out. He was kind of removed from the crew. The copilot, Dunk, was my friend and we jumped together. I ended up staying friends with him after the war.

IamaWW2POW89 karma

In the album above there's a pic of me standing from where I jumped.

iBradderz65 karma

What were your thoughts when the plane crashed and you were still alive.

IamaWW2POW235 karma

I didn't see it crash. When we jumped out it was still flying. We rode the parachutes down and I honestly didn't know what to do. We took ten steps. Then we were fired on by Germans. In broken english they said "for you the war is over" (evidently that was a famous cartoon back in the day)

We were interrogated and it was pretty surreal. Just like the movies. I ended up talking to my interrogator about the Cleveland Indians. He spoke perfect english.

Acrossthe_Universe60 karma

What was your career following the war?

IamaWW2POW122 karma

It was tough after the war. I stayed until 1950 but was rif'd. I had a hard time finding a job (I drove a newspaper truck, sold storm windows, and ended up working for the Bell phone company.)

racin36er21 karma

can i ask what you did for Bell? i work in telecom, would be interesting to know!

IamaWW2POW42 karma

I worked on telephone poles. Connecting open wire! (Grandson: He said you'd like that.) I eventually moved to being a 1st level manager.

I moved to AT&T. We had some of the first computers. Still not to sure how they work, though.

forty2skates17 karma

My grandfather went to work for Bell after he came home from the pacific theater where he was a Marine on the ground at both Midway and Okinawa. Lucked out and got the job right away. Retired in '84 along with the breakup and made out like a bandit. Growing up we were all told we'd be disowned if we became jarheads, and I really think he was serious. In addition to his first hand experience his brother in law spent the entirety of the war, from before Pearl Harbor until after V-J Day, as a Japanese POW and was a major motivating factor in him initially wanting to serve in the Pacific theater. He was quite upset when my father enlisted in the army out of fear that his draft number would come up. He was considerably less upset about my brother looking at a nursing career in the Navy. Didn't bat an eye when my cousin looked at the Coast Guard. Anyway, I digress. How do you feel about your children and grandchildren serving in the military? Do you feel differently about various branches? Did any of your children or grandchildren serve?

IamaWW2POW52 karma

Great story! My grandson is in the Coast Guard and son was in the Navy. I'm obviously very proud of them. I think all the services are very necessary. Even more so today....

The Air Force does have the best golf courses.

dtg10857 karma

Did you ever/at what points did you actually think that you were going to die?

IamaWW2POW134 karma

When I was flying, the thought of dying never entered my mind. I was always too busy. I did think I might not make it out of the prison camp when In contracted dysentery...I lost a lot of weight. Fortunately ( for me and my son and grandson) I was able to get medicine that cured my illness and I regained most of the weight I lost.

Jarsupial48 karma

What was the scariest moment for you? (if you don't mind sharing) What was your funniest moment? What was your most bad ass moment? And I mean in your whole military career, not just as a POW.

IamaWW2POW109 karma

Scariest: (he laughed thinking about this one) I got horrible dysentary in Nuremberg and thought I was going to die. I went from 150 to 90 lbs and an Irish Catholic Priest was the guy who ended up saving my life.

Funniest: In training, flying AT-6s one of my compatriots came back with a high tension wire wrapped around the prop. I guess the power company was pretty busy that day.

Bad-Ass: I was stationed in Guam flying P-47s and I had just gone through fighter school. We used buzz the palm trees. Guys would come back with palm fronds stuck on the plane.

Jarsupial36 karma

How did he save his life? Did he ever see the Priest again?

That's hilarious, I bet that compatriot didn't hear the end of that one for a while.

I feel like airline pilots are doing that to my house sometimes. It feels like they're playing "who can get closest to my roof without actually touching it." So far none have returned to the airport with shingles stuck to the plane.

What's it like flying? Like, at least to begin with, what goes through your mind when you think about being the sole person in control of the machine?

How exciting was it being able to travel so many places? What was your favorite place to go?

Sorry for all the questions...

IamaWW2POW72 karma

He was able to leave the camp. So he went into town and got some chalky liquid and gave it to me. I got over it pretty quickly after that. I had some really good talks with that priest, but never saw him after the war. His name was Father McVeigh and he had played on the Irish national football team.

That guy ended up graduating. I was a little surprised.

I think it was a great thing and I had a huge desire to do so. I wasn't too happy being a bombardier. (As his grandson I am also a military aviator and can give my two cents: it's very freeing and you get a huge ego boost. It's also super scary when you figure out no one's going to help you land and in a very short while you'll be back on earth good landing or not.)

My son and grandson are also in the military so I've planned a lot of my vacations around their duty stations. It's been great and I love to travel. But there's always something about coming back home...

Jarsupial13 karma

Are you proud that your son and grandson have followed in your footsteps? (they could just answer yes for you, though, hahah)

I'm very afraid of heights so I can't imagine doing anything like that but it seems like if it's something you're passionate about it would be hell to have it taken away, kind of like a bird.

What other careers are there in being a military pilot? I assume one involving bombs isn't the only option?

IamaWW2POW64 karma

Yes, I'm very proud of my son and grandson, even though they chose the wrong services (Navy and Coast Guard).
It was very tough to give up flying, I really loved is but there just wasn't any opportunity to continue and make a living. There were lots of unemployed pilots after WW2. I did end up being able to fly private planes later in life. Fun but flying a Cessna 150 is way different and much more tame than a P-51. I think the being a pilot and working in a squadron prepares you for leadership positions in industry. I ended up being a manager for AT&T and enjoyed the work.

Jarsupial18 karma

When I was a teenager I, for some reason, thought the Coast Guard was the wussy branch but now that I've seen what they do (diving into stormy, crazy waters etc) I have a new and huge respect for them.

I didn't see manager from what I've read but I guess leadership is leadership and when you can be stern without a second thought when the situation calls (and compassionate when the time is right too) for it then you're better off than a lot of managers I know.

What do you do with your time now?

IamaWW2POW44 karma

Grandson: HA! Yeah, I though the Coast Guard was a little wussy, too. Now I love my job. And I work with some of the finest bravest people I've ever met.

Grandpa, again: Now, I'm a docent at a military museum. Pretty much doing the same thing I'm doing now but in real life.

Jarsupial13 karma

I went on a field trip to our coast to see where our Coast Guard hang out and it was super cool lookin! There was a big TV, fancy chairs, it was super warm and cozy too because it's frigid as balls outside! My boyfriend said he thought it may take more balls to jump into icy ocean water than to jump into battle but I think it's about even. You're putting your life at risk for someone else just the same.

Do people there ask interesting questions? Have they asked something you loved that hasn't been asked here yet? What was it and what was your answer?

IamaWW2POW56 karma

People aren't as forward in person as they are on here. It's actually kind of refreshing. I suppose one thing recently that I really liked talking about was the day I got liberated by General Patton. He was driven in a polished jeep and was every bit the legend that I had heard about.

Murtank2 karma

Was flying for an airliner ever an option?

IamaWW2POW9 karma

Yeah, before I got out I went to talk to a representative for an airline in Africa. But my time was mostly in single engine fighters. So I wasn't as desirable as a lot of the multi engine guys who were getting out.

Burge978 karma

Tried looking up McVeigh but unfortunately the only one in file is from the 90s. Is there any interest in looking this guy up? If he was on A irish national football team an inquiry into the different teams could be possible. While he was a father and wouldn't have direct descendants, he might have great nephews.

IamaWW2POW9 karma


That would be very interesting! He was about 32 in 1944. He wrote me one letter from Ealing near London. I'm pretty sure he was from Donegal.

pponmypupu41 karma

That p51 pic is pretty sweet

IamaWW2POW102 karma

Best aircraft I ever flew. Fast, maneuverable, but unforgiving.

EDIT: Some more thoughts on the P-51. The one I flew had a really powerful Rolls-Royce engine that made a really distinctive noise (1450hp). The problem the vertical stab was to small to counteract the torque of the propeller. So if you accelerated too quickly, the nose would veer hard left and you'd start to roll. This was not good when you were on some guy's wing.

IamaWW2POW84 karma

Grandpa: Every now and then guys would actually hit their wing man. In fact, there was a cap on the end of the wing (about a foot long) that would fall off if you hit it hard enough.

Grandson: In flight training we called that "trading paint."

apm111840 karma

Thank you for your service!! I just have a few questions.

What was it like coming home and not having to deal with ration cards and not being under lock and key with a watchful eye everyday?

And what do you think about the current state of soldiers coming home with PTSD?

Also did you ever manage to bring home any trophies and since you were there after the war was over did you get to destroy a lot of nazi propaganda material?

IamaWW2POW99 karma

For me the transition was pretty easy. We went through a camp called Lucky Strike in France. We got a uniform (it didn't fit) and we got a steam bath which was nice. And then we were sent home. I think other guys had problems but I honestly didn't have much. (Grandson: He literally knocked on some wood.)

I feel really sorry for the families of some of the guys coming back with injuries. My brother got a concussion from being in a tank that got fired on. He got really messed up (paraphrasing) but there were no physical wounds. The doctors basically said suck it up.

Grandson: He seems pretty pissed about this.

apm111823 karma

Wow. I wish we had the knowledge back then like we do know to help the wwii vets. You all have had to see some of the worst part of human kind to have ever existed. What was basic training like? I've heard they wanted so many men so quick that they just did some very basic stuff and sent out a lot of people blind.

To the grandson and son: thank you both for your service not only in the military but to your grandfather and father as well. Too many times people forget about those who are aging and as a 28 year old I think it's utter bs. So thank you.

IamaWW2POW41 karma

I was in California for basic at Santa Ana Army Air Base. I think there were 80,000 guys there. It took about six weeks. As far as being prepared: I wasn't even prepared for the military lifestyle much less doing my job. But you learned quickly or you got washed out and went infantry.

Grandson and son: You're welcome! We really appreciate all the great comments and questions.

IamaWW2POW60 karma

Forgot the last question! I was brining back a watch from one of the guys in the camps. I left it in my pocket and had to dig through all the clothes in the delousing station to get it back...

I guess I could have thought of a worse place to put it.

SchindlerTheGrouch34 karma

Were you allowed any contact with anyone who could let people at home know you were alive? Red Cross ?

IamaWW2POW65 karma

Yes, in Luft III we were allowed to write and receive letters. Unfortunately we were moved and the Germans weren't too concerned with forwarding our mail :)

Edit: We actually had a form that you filled out when you wrote home. You had to provide your name and the address of the person you were writing to.

IamaWW2POW70 karma

A note about the German Prison Guards: I was in a camp of officers so they were pretty good to us. They understood why we were there and respected us. However, towards the end we were always a little worried that we might be seen as too valuable to be captured and get eliminated before the camp was liberated.

Murtank13 karma

However, towards the end we were always a little worried that we might be seen as too valuable to be captured and get eliminated before the camp was liberated.

How did you guys keep up to date with events at the front?

IamaWW2POW31 karma

One of the guys put together a contraband radio. Whenever we got any news they would yell "soup's on" and we would come running. I guess the guards thought we really liked soup.

Ron_Jeremy30 karma

How did repatriation go? Were you liberated by the army? Did you get sent home immediately or did you stay in Europe in a hospital? Finally, how did you go from bombardier to fighter pilot?

IamaWW2POW90 karma

I was liberated by Patton! That was pretty amazing.

Took me a couple weeks to get back home. I went back by boat. As POWs we pretty much got whatever choice of job once we got back.

edit: About 10% of the guys in fighter school were POWs. And, of course, we could've chosen not to stay in the military, too.

Ron_Jeremy12 karma

Thanks for replying! This has been a very interesting AMA.

Let me ask about your initial enlistment. Were you drafted? How did you get to be a bombardier? My grandpa enlisted and was sent to a technical school to get a degree, but then it got cut short and he ended up in England then Normandy. What was your path from civilian to floating down on a parachute into the loving embrace of your German captors?

IamaWW2POW2 karma

Sorry for the delay. I volunteered in 1942 for the Army Air Corps. I took an exam, probably like your grandpa and was selected to be a bombardier. I want to be a pilot but wasn't able to do that till I was liberated in 1945.

Bstpitch28 karma

Looking back now. Could you be the person who pulled the lever to drop the nuclear bomb in Japan? Meaning, would you do it?

IamaWW2POW70 karma

That's a tough question. I had friends that flew on the fire bomb missions over Tokyo and they told me that the city was almost entirely destroyed. I think that Japan was crumbling and would have had second thoughts about being the guy who "pulled the lever". That said if I had orders to do it , I think I would have complied. As I felt I didn't have enough information to know if the alternative would have saved lives. Actually, I guess, would have cost less lives.

NinjaDiscoJesus26 karma

How was the treatment in the POW camps?

IamaWW2POW65 karma

Short answer: good and bad.

Stalag III was good. But I got really sick in some of the later camps. Stalag VII was the worst. It was over crowded and the essentials (food sanitation and clean water) were in short supply.

kaninglamig22 karma

Did you ever think about escaping the camp?

IamaWW2POW17 karma

That Priest, Father McVeigh, actually told me about a tunnel being built, but swore me to secrecy. I was moved around so much and then got sick, I never really had time to escape.

Ayinope14 karma

My grandfather was held by the Americans in an open air camp (limited shelter) with 500,000 other German soldiers. Apparently they had a difficulty feeding them all.

IamaWW2POW3 karma

I hope he was OK and was treated well.

RearAdmiralBuzzkill22 karma

My grandfather also flew a B-24 during WW2, and flew out of Italy. His plane was named "Ragged Ass". What was yours named?

IamaWW2POW37 karma

Our bomber was called "Mairzy Doates" after this song. The rest of the crew thought it was kind of dumb, but the pilot picked it and he was in charge.

BreweryBaron13 karma

There is quite a bit of info on the web, regarding your grandpa's crew and missions. You can also find some images of crews and airplanes. Go have a look:

IamaWW2POW10 karma

Thanks! This is very interesting. However, I was actually in the 451st bomb group, flying out of Italy. I guess there's a couple Pilots out there who like the name "Mairzy Doates."

friedjumboshrimp21 karma

Have you read the book 'UNBROKEN'? How were you treated as a POW?

IamaWW2POW64 karma

I got half way through but its tough reading lately. My eyes aren't as great as the used to be.

As far as treatment: It was tough, but nowhere near as bad as the treatment in the pacific theater. I have a lot of respect for those guys.

robertoj2943 karma

Can we get this man an audio copy? That is if you would like to finish it, Sir.

IamaWW2POW19 karma

Son: Great idea! We'll do that. We're about to go on a road trip and this will be perfect for the long hours on the road.

HashtagWhoa19 karma

As I plan to pursue a career in mental illness in soldiers, I have a few questions.

1) Was PTSD as rampant and severe back then as it is now?

2) What did you say helped you the most in accepting and conforming back into society back home?

I ask, because my brother got back from Iraq with severe PTSD, and truly just observing how difficult it is for him and some of his fellow soldiers to come back to civilian life was very tough. It must be tough to go from being able to trust your brothers around you with your life, to a society that can be filthy, fast paced and full of social pressures.

Lastly, thank you so much for your service. All soldiers should be on a pedestal higher than any and all professional athletes, actors, etc. and being able to live life comfortably after their service. So truly thank you for everything you and your fellow vets did and continuously do for us!

IamaWW2POW10 karma

We didn't really have a name for it back then. We just didn't talk about it and tried to forget it.

Grandson: As I was growing up I used to really have to press him to talk about his experiences. It's gotten a lot easier now. Especially with him volunteering at museums and such.

From my point of view there has been a pretty major culture change in how the military deals with this type of thing. In my lifetime things like PTSD and shell shock were real social stigmas within the military community, but I think this has gotten way better. There's actually established procedures and open dialogue for dealing with this. Thank you for your work!!

Alcantarvf16 karma

How was Hitler viewed in that time period? I know today he is considered a monster..N once a monster always a monster. I am just curious what people around military bases would say about him? Was he as hated as Osama?

IamaWW2POW45 karma

Well, he was the enemy. I thought Roosevelt was a good man. I though Hitler and Mussolini were all fanatics. As far as him vs Osama....that's a good question. There's no doubt Hitler was a ruthless person, though.

abstracti15 karma

What was your role as a pilot in the Air Corps at the close of the war and post-war? Why were new pilots being trained at that point?

(BTW thanks for your service and for doing the AMA! This is fascinating.)

IamaWW2POW31 karma

I was an instructor at Andrews for Air Force pilots at the Pentagon. And you're very right. It was hard being a military pilot after the war in fact I got RIF'd (Reduction in Force) in 1950.

And you're welcome!

cobalt99914 karma

Were you at Stalag Luft III when the famous mass-escape occurred? If so, what do you remember about it? Was it a surprise, or did you know something was going to happen? Did you ever make any attempt to escape from any of the prison camps?

IamaWW2POW5 karma

No, I got there on 10 May a couple months after. And I'm honestly not sure whether I heard about that escape while in the camp or after the war. The priest I was good friends with had told me about other plans for escape but I never got the chance to be involved.

fast_mover13 karma

This is a fantastic AMA. Thank you for your service!

IamaWW2POW28 karma

Happy to do it! It's sparking a lot of conversation between myself and the rest of the family. And you're welcome!

blobbydigital13 karma

My parents can't even figure out how to use a smartphone, how does a WW2 veteran get into reddit?

IamaWW2POW39 karma

I'm getting a little help from my grandson :)

Grandson: We gave him an iPad and it turned out like this.

Just kidding, not as bad but my Mom is now the caretaker of a "like new" iPad.

gypsydrifter12 karma

I fly for a living, and always thought the A26 would have been the coolest airplane to fly - how did you like it, how did it fly?

IamaWW2POW8 karma

I instructed in those! It was pretty neat flying coast to coast. Only one stop in Omaha! The fighter pilots loved it because it was fast like a fighter. Not much slower than a P-51.

Edit: (Grandson: Had to add this.) When we first got them there was no right seat. We modified them but while I was there the instructor side didn't have brakes. If the student was bad at taxiing you were just along for the ride.

jesusofsuburbia13310 karma

what branch of service were you in?

IamaWW2POW37 karma

The Army Air Corps which changed to the US Air Force in 1948.

truckdrvr7 karma

Not sure if you will be back on, but just wanted to say how much I appreciate the willingness to discuss your war experiences. My father-in-law was a Marine Captain who was awarded the Bronze Star in the South Pacific and would tend to shy away from talking directly about his experiences in the war. We had some wonderful discussions about our shared military service, but mostly about the routine day to day stuff. He passed away a few years back, and I often think about all the memories (good and bad) that he took with him.

So thank you for passing on your memories and sharing your experiences with all of us. It is an honor sir!

IamaWW2POW7 karma

Thanks to both you and your father-in-law for your service. I didn't much want to talk about the war until I started to docent on the MIDWAY Air Craft Carrier museum. My son served on the MIDWAY and he docent's there and that what got it started. There were so many people who seemed genuinely interested in what it was like that I started to talk more about my experiences. I don't feel like any kind of hero or anything like many good men served and did amazing, courageous acts. Also, the local paper did a living history by recording our stories and that helped me piece together my experiences.

friedjumboshrimp6 karma

Have you seen the Eiffel Tower in person? Do you think it's overrated?

IamaWW2POW52 karma

I saw it from the air on the way back home from Germany. I was pretty high up, but it looked like a bunch of splinters. I was honestly a little more focused on my destination at that point.

HeadOfSlytherin4 karma

Thank you for serving! !

IamaWW2POW11 karma

You're welcome!

waffen3374 karma

I'm sorry if this was already asked but,

If you were a teen/young adult in this time, would you still be interested in joining the Air-force/becoming a pilot today with so much that has changed with the modernization of aircraft?

IamaWW2POW7 karma

I think I would. It's not so much the modernization as I feel there is a need to serve the country. It seemed we have more agreement about the need to stop Germany and Japan back then.

Sgtblazing4 karma

This is wonderful! if you come back and answer more, I would love to know how the "enemy" was viewed by you? Were they dehumanized to you in order to help you do your job, or did you actively think that they were in your shoes, just on the other side of the line? Thanks to you all for the AMA!

IamaWW2POW7 karma

Most of the guards towards the end were "old guys" and fearful about what would happen to them, knowing the war was not going well for Germany. We had Allied raids on the cities almost daily. I kind of felt sorry for them and their families. I think the SS were a different story but fortunately I didn't have any contact with them.

skeetchosaurusrex4 karma

My great uncle was a b-24 pilot. His plane crashed somewhere in Italy in 1942. he might have been 20 when he met his fate.

anyways you guys are lucky to have your dad/grandfather around.

IamaWW2POW2 karma

Sorry to hear about your Uncle and thanks for his service. We are so fortunate to have my dad with us and able to do things like AMA. And he really enjoys reminiscing.

dataz3 karma

Just wanted to say thank you for all for your service and thanks to your son and grandson for doing this, there has been an influx of WW2 veterans doing AMAs recently that has made me so happy as they are becoming the last survivors still alive and it's high time we get all the cool war stories. Also, the picture of you on the airplane looks unbelievably boss, you usually only see pilots/flight crews standing around their planes or in the cockpit, never on the wing!

Edit: Grammar

IamaWW2POW3 karma

Thanks for your post. We love the picture of dad on "his" P-51. That was his favorite aircraft.

MrNintendoCoke3 karma

What do your remember when the POW camp got liberated?

IamaWW2POW4 karma

My memory is a little fuzzy, but I think the lead units of the 3rd army came to the camp and used tanks to tear down the barbed wire fences. The troops wanted us to stay put as not all of the German troops in the area had surrendered and I think they were fearful of us prisoners running about, getting shot or taking revenge on the local populace. We could see the Moosburg city hall and I distinctly remember watching as the NAZI flag was lowered and the USA flag raised. A resounding cheer arose from the thousands of prisoners. We shipped out about a week after that first to France, then to UK and then by ocean liner to New York.

The_Hairy_Nipple3 karma

What is the plane in the 4th picture (of edit 2)? Is it a B-24 Liberator?

IamaWW2POW3 karma

Yep, that's a B-24. I think it's one of the last still flying. They come to air show and give rides.

eyeWired3 karma

WOW! Did our grandfather's fly together? This is a long shot:

My grandfather flew a B-24...from Italy. Shot down over the Yugoslavia border and captured in 1944, I believe!

The name of his plane was the "I'll Get By"... My grandfather's first name was Bob.

Edit: Okay, I surfed through the comments and found out the name of your grandfather's plane was not the same. Such a similar story though! That would have been crazy.

This was the report from my grandfather's crash here...wonder if your grandpa recognizes any of the names on that roster:

IamaWW2POW5 karma

Sorry, no I didn't know your grandfather. I was in the 451st Bomb Group...looks like your grandfather was in the 450th. I think there were about 48 aircraft in each bomb group with 10 crew for each airplane, so lots of folks and that doesn't count the maintenance admin, etc. WOuld have been quite a coincidence if I ran into your grandfather , but you never know...

Divided_Pi3 karma

Hey, sorry for such a late question, (also sorry if this has already been answered in another thread). Were you at Stalagluft III with any of the "Great Escapists"? And if you were, were you involved in the efforts to build the tunnels or was it before/after your time there? And of course, thank you for your service

IamaWW2POW5 karma

I did just a minute ago respond on another thread. I arrived about a month and a half after the "great escape". Wasn't involved in any subsequent attempts save one ill fated try to escape during a march from Nuernberg to Moosburg.

Sarstan3 karma

Hope I'm not too late!
How common was it to be fired up/engaged by enemy aircraft? Was there a clear change in that rate during different years/campaigns? Was AA fire more of a concern than other aircraft in a bomber? When out on missions, were you in large groups?

Long story short, I'm really interested in hearing details about aspects of combat in a bomber. Really anything you're willing to share is very much welcome!

IamaWW2POW6 karma

Not too late. I think there were significant differences in the threats depending on the phase and location of the campaign. I only flew on 10 missions in April 1944 before we were shot down. For us, AA/Flak was the biggest concern and ultimately what took down our aircraft. We had Flak damage to the plane on every mission.

Vlaed3 karma

Amazing. This remind me of my Great Uncle. He is still alive at 94 years old and he was a B-24 pilot during WWII. He told me how he was "lucky" and got in the Air core. He was drafted and was in line and a guy was walking down the line of recruits. The man stopped at my Great Uncle and goes, "Everyone in front of this man is infantry. Everyone else, Air core." He told me, "None of them men I knew in front of me survived the war. It was the luckiest moment of my life."

IamaWW2POW2 karma

Ah, fate. That said, many, many Air Corps crew perished during the massive campaigns over Germany and Japan. Thanks to your Great Uncle for his service and hope you have some of the family gene's...94 years old...God Bless him.