I was also a school teacher for 13 years and have been married to my wife for 72 years!

Here is a story written by one of my students (includes a WWII story): http://mattschnittker.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-6th-grade-teacher.html

More about my WWII story:


(Responses written by his grandson. He'll try to answer as many questions as he can from 3:30 - 4:30 PDT)

My Proof: Some photos!

D-Day Postcard: http://imgur.com/mYx9nPK



Picture taken today:



Comments: 2206 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

LorenEJackson4814 karma

"If someone else asks if I would do it again, say I wouldn't because i'm 99 years old and that's too old to be flying a plane"

ForgottenTimeCapsule1598 karma

Are you proud of the future you fought for now that you're here?

LorenEJackson3175 karma

"Oh, yes. If the other side had won...good grief"

LorenEJackson1170 karma

We're getting ready for dinner now but he said he'll answer more questions later!

LorenEJackson1239 karma

Grandpa really enjoyed the questions and responses, but unfortunately he's pretty tired now. I'll try to do another AMA with him soon!

EDIT: Grandpa is back up and wants to thank everyone for the responses! He's also telling more stories about the war. I'll post them as they come.

poopinginpublic261 karma

Damn it. Came here just too late. If it's not too much to ask could you remind me/us if you do another?

LorenEJackson373 karma

Sure, I can also try to answer what I can if you have a question about his story/life

BrendanTheONeill158 karma

I'm curious about life as a POW personally. How was he treated, was his life under constant threat, etc.

RedstoneRay1088 karma

What were you thinking about when you were shot down the second time?

LorenEJackson2101 karma

"Well I was scared because I parachuted out and the airplane circled around me twice. "

"And you know, that airplane hit the ground near Rouen, France. And about 6 or 8 years ago I got a letter from a guy in Rouen, France who was writing a book about WWII. Apparently my plane landed right near his house."

MagnusTheGreat1114 karma

He was probably gonna ask you to take it back.

Munchen-Out839 karma

And then send you a bill.

LorenEJackson1172 karma

He thought this was hilarious!

LorenEJackson1185 karma

On being shot down twice:

“It's very rare. I do know one other guy that was shot down twice. He brought a load of POWs to the Germans the first time, escaped, and then brought another load.”

snackcake390 karma

The first time you were shot down? Did you land in friendly territory?

LorenEJackson954 karma

"The first time we landed in the English Channel. It was my first mission in charge. We hit flak on the way back from France and couldn't make it back to the base. I had two missions as co-pilot before."

"A British rescue team got us from the Channel right when we landed"

LorenEJackson1121 karma

Grandson, here. I'll also just add that he's actually been in four plane crashes. Once the landing gear malfunctioned on his way to the European Theater, twice he was shot down, and once he was in a civilian plane crash in South America.

chunglii96 karma

by the 4th crash, he must have been the most relaxed plane crash survivor ever like "Not this shit again..."

LorenEJackson293 karma

On the civilian plane crash in Brazil:

"After the crash, one guy got up to force his way out of the crowded plane and was going to hurt people and I stood up and shouted at him 'Hey you sit down!'. I don't know if he understood me but he sat down”

Dylinquency909 karma

Did you think you would survive the POW camp?

LorenEJackson2670 karma

"Yes. I thought my country would not let me down."

Johnnyfiftyfive865 karma

What did you get fed when you were a prisoner of war ? I have been very curious what practices those in a P.O.W situation are subject to. Bread and water ? thank you for the response.

LorenEJackson1639 karma

"Kohlrabi. Its a great big turnip, and they fed it to their animals and POWs. We ate it because it was better than nothing, but not much better"

"The German guards weren't fed much better than we were"

Otto_Maller814 karma

Mr. Jackson, you probably more than most will appreciate this bit of pilot-to-tower folklore...

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, callsign Speedbird 206. Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird 206! clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven." The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?" Speedbird

206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now." Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?" 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, -- And I didn't land."

LorenEJackson297 karma

He loved this!

quietalarm813 karma

Did you learn anything interesting about your self or in general during WWII?

LorenEJackson2002 karma

"I would say I learned I could do some things that I thought were impossible. Like taking off in total darkness and gritting your teeth and flying into the flak"

82364680 karma

Did you keep a diary? If so, please take it to the nearest university to have their library make a copy - it could be a valuable historical resource. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.

LorenEJackson940 karma

Grandson here. Yes, he has an autobiography that he has written for the family. I will definitely try to do that!

AThinkerNamedChip559 karma

Got any good stories about the Memphis Belle? Did you fly with her? Did you know any of the crew? Asking because my great uncle was the tail gunner. Nickname of Bucky. Thanks either way for your sacrifices.

LorenEJackson759 karma

"I did not know anyone in it. I do remember when the Memphis Belle completed its 25 missions. It went on a war bond tour promoting the sale of war bonds"

Toshiro46500 karma

What was the POW experience for you? Did you have any huge regrets then, besides getting shot down in the first place?

LorenEJackson1951 karma

"Three words: cold, hungry, and dirty."

"Christmas Eve (as a POW) was something I would never forget. Christmas Eve was a very cold night. There was snow on the ground but none was falling that night. The Germans normally locked us in the cells after 5 o'clock, but on christmas eve they let us stay out until 9 o'clock. Then after we were locked up, a four man quartet of American musicians went to the center of the compound. There was a trumpet, an alto, a trombone, and a baritone. In the quiet of that night they played "Silent Night"...and I don't think there was a dry eye in the POW camp...including the German guards. It is a memory I shall always treasure"

"I remember this guy I met when I was a POW was an American, but his mother was a German and his grandfather was the mayor of Stutgartt. When he got shot down he asked the jail guard if he would contact his grandfather. The guard later said that the grandfather said 'let him rot'"

“Here's a funny story. After the fighting stopped and things quieted down, one of General Patton's Sergeants gave one of the POWs a battery operated radio. The guy took it into his cell block and turned it on. The first song he heard was 'Don't Fence Me In'”

"I had two uniforms. I would wear one for a month then wear another for a month"

"I still think the Germans treated us fairly. We didn't get enough to eat but they didn't either"

“There was a funny story that made rounds at the POW camp that I don't actually believe. At the POW camp, the Americans would give the Russians some of their foodstuffs. The Americans would get a red cross parcel but the Russian POWs weren't getting anything. The Americans would pass stuff over the tall fence to the Russians. Apparently, when an American asked a Russian how he liked the stuff, the Russian said everything was alright except for that 'Palmolive' cheese.”

Returning Home:

“I remember when before we returned to the United States, we saw a newspaper that said all the POWs were returned to the U.S. Well we were not back yet. Another POW then got on the phone with his commander and insisted on speaking with General Eisenhower. He finally got on the phone with Eisenhower and said 'I just saw in the newspaper that the last of the liberated POWs reached the US, well I thought that might be your understanding General. But there are 200 of us in a little town called Tidworth.' Eisenhower said 'thank you very much' and hung up and the next day we were on a ship home.”

quietalarm483 karma

If you could travel back in time and serve again, would you?

LorenEJackson1582 karma

"You know you asked me if I would do it again and the reason I say I would is because our cause was so right at the time"

LorenEJackson436 karma

"Certainly. Everybody was in the service then."

TurtleclassDestroyer476 karma

Did you ever fly again after the war?

LorenEJackson1042 karma

"Well B-17s were being phased out but I flew them a little bit after the war. I flew a B-29 and a B-50. I was timid about flying after the war... although I always knew that these things could kill you (planes). I always felt more secure if I was the guy with the controls."

1_am_the_box_ghost362 karma

If you could change one key point in your life what would it be or why?

LorenEJackson816 karma

"I wish I would not have been shot down at all (laughs). I would have turned down my 9th mission in WWII" (he had the option to turn it down)

TheWainer281 karma

What bomber group were you in? My grandfather was in 94 th BG Heavy and got shot down New Year's Day 1943. POW at Barth on Baltic. Never got promoted during POW time so he stayed 2nd Lt. All you airmen were very brave, given the high early losses. Thank you.

LorenEJackson324 karma

"385th BG. I was a 2nd Lt. also. I made 1st Lt. after my first crew mission"

SpacemanSteww280 karma

What is your opinion with the U.S. and ISIS?

LorenEJackson854 karma

"Well I think ISIS should be destroyed. Somebody should do it I don't know if it has to be us (laughs)"

adultishgambino1269 karma

Do you miss flying? How hard was it to get your license back in the day?

LorenEJackson489 karma

"No I don't think I do. I would love to fly on a nice clear day, but I wouldn't know any of its instruments anymore"

Ganzi3262 karma

Hello Sir, thank you for doing this AMA! World War 2 is viewed by many as the last real war (from a U.S point of view) with a cause worth fighting for, what is your view on this? Do you think any of the U.S wars fought since have been for the right reasons ? i.e Vietnam, Iraq etc. Thank you very much for your bravery sir, respect from Ireland :)

LorenEJackson648 karma

"Well I hope its the last big war. It was very terribly important for the British. Other wars are not always for the right reasons. War is a terrible way to settle a dispute"

flugzeugmodus240 karma

Did you pick up any German when you were over there? Do you still remember any today?

LorenEJackson554 karma

"Do I remember any German words? Well I remember the guy who stopped me (after he was shot down) yelled 'HALT' three times."

"The man was surprised that I wasn't armed. We had the option of being armed but if you were armed you more vulnerable. Honestly, a lot of times they shot at you whether or not you were armed"

tellurianmonkey240 karma

Why did you have to stop teaching in the Lompoc District?

LorenEJackson563 karma

"Well I was 64 when I retired. I was too old and I thought it was time to retire. I think I was an effective teacher right up to the end but I wasn't trying to set any records for an old age teacher."

Grandma - "And I think you were interested in going on that around the world trip with our friends." (They took a trip through Europe and Asia on a train )

b5b0n36231 karma

Scariest thing that's happens to you while on the battle field?

LorenEJackson598 karma

“Toward the end of the war the Germans dug this long trench and our senior officer was alarmed by this because he thought it was a mass grave. It was big enough that all of us could be accommodated there. He ordered us to take a bed slat from our beds and he said we'll fight their machine guns with our clubs. We wouldn't stand by and watch 1100 prisoners get executed. The Germans said it wasn't a mass grave but we were convinced that it was.”

adudeguyman134 karma

What happened with the trench?

LorenEJackson292 karma

"We never figured out why it was there. They claimed it was for self-defense"

toadbearman192 karma

What is your opinion of Donald Trump?

LorenEJackson1058 karma

"I don't think of Donald Trump very often"

"Wasn't he the guy who said that POWs should not be caught? Well Mr.Trump has never faced the situation we faced. I guess he expects that I would get into a fist fight with the guy that had the gun"

Philippelebon177 karma

Hello Mr. Jackson,

During your stay in Great-Britain, did you have some exchange with foreign soldiers and pilots, per say, british, polish, french or belgian ? Did you feel a good rapport bewteen you and them, or some rivalry ?

Thank you sir, and have a nice day !

LorenEJackson293 karma

"I didn't interact much with any foreign soldiers during the war. The foreign soldiers were all held in separate POW camps."

Squago119168 karma

Were you able to fly other bomber's before the B-17, and if so, was the B-17 your favorite?

LorenEJackson303 karma

"In the war I flew only the B-17. I flew other planes in training and afterword. The B-17 was my favorite"

SaintNattygrumpo165 karma

What would you say to someone looking to join? Someone you cared about.

LorenEJackson554 karma

"Good luck. I hope you never have to go to war"

gbimmer148 karma

Thank you for your service.

With your life experiences what would you change about the country right now if you had the power?

LorenEJackson365 karma

"No. I guess I wish we could get the gun situation fixed."

mathdhruv107 karma

I know this AMA is over, but I'm really curious as to which direction he'd like the gun situation fixed in... As in, gun control, or more ease of purchase/possession?

LorenEJackson488 karma

I'll just clarify this because we actually had this discussion at dinner. He has no confidence that either side of the gun argument can make the violence completely stop, but he is in favor of background checks/waiting period, and other moderate reforms.

memorex1150147 karma

What was the most difficult thing about flying the B17, and what was the simplest thing (that didn't seem so simple at first glance)?

Also, what is your secret(s) to a long and happy marriage?

LorenEJackson431 karma

Regarding marriage:

Loren - "I think you have to find the right person. What do you think Alice?"

Alice (his wife) - "Our secret is that I forgive his many faults. But honestly, I think we treat each other as human beings, were not competitive. I think the secret is respect for each other if you want to be formal about it."

Animist_Prime126 karma

Did Von Schwerin ever explain why he would follow the Nazis or was he just a decent man that got caught up in history?

LorenEJackson362 karma

"Von Schwerin was a very, very nice guy and he was involved in the assassination plot on Hitler. He once said the United States Air Force is not all bad, because the papers that would implicate (him) in the assassination attempt on Hitler were in a safe in Hamburg. The Air Force bombed Hamburg and destroyed that safe and everything that was in it"

karmatiger97 karma

What was the name of your plane? Is it the one in the photo with the chin turret?

LorenEJackson475 karma

"We didn't have our name painted on the plane like the others. But we called it Crash Wagon after we crashed in Ireland on our way to the war. The next plane Crash Wagon II was shot down in the English Channel and Crash Wagon III ended up in France"

ValleyNerd79 karma

What was your reaction to "The Great Escape" and "Hogan's Heroes"? We're you able to enjoy them at all, or hated them, or choose not to watch them? Just something I always wondered how a real POW would have reacted to their portrayal of that time and circumstance.

LorenEJackson156 karma

"The Great Escape was good. I sure did love Saving Private Ryan. It was a great show. I don't go out of my way to see a war movie"

Taco_Sock65 karma

How did you get out of the POW camp?

LorenEJackson284 karma

"Well the Russians were on one side of Germany and General Patton was on the other, but General Patton got to us first. On a Saturday the Germans told us to close our windows and doors and lie on the floor because there was going to be a lot of trouble. They were shooting right into the camp before General Patton freed the camp. The German guns finally quieted down and a POW who had been hiding a U.S. flag ran outside and took down the German flag and put up a U.S. one. It was very touching"

ilikepenguins2317 karma

What branch of the military were you in?

LorenEJackson67 karma

"I was in the Air Force, it was originally part of the army and then became its own thing"

GrimsonMask-3 karma

Were you aware off all the chaos and destruction cause by your WWII B-17 bombing? Or you were just there to do your job and serve your nation and mentally blocked all of those things.. (like most veteran back then)

LorenEJackson4 karma

(related) - “Well I remember during the war, while I was being taken to jail, I was taken to a railroad station in Frankfurt. There was an anti-American crowd gathering at the train terminal where we were stopped. The crowd was getting closer and closer, and I came face to face with a guy wearing an A-2 jacket. I thought that was odd because the A-2 jacket is an american garment. He got closer and closer in this very crowded area and we looked at each other and he winked. And I thought this guy must be an American. Face to face with an enemy guys and he winks (laughs). Most the Germans were pretty mad at us”

AtoFtw-3 karma

I don't want to sound rude, but do you have any more proof? Like your username on the picture or something? And a uniform, etc? If this really IS true, then thank you for your service! /u/IAmAMods

LorenEJackson2 karma

Grandson here, will get the username in the photo