Don K. was in the US Army Air Corps (451st Bomber Group) in World War II. He was
a left waist gunner in a B-24. He flew 14 missions including bombing of the Romanian
oil fields. The place was vital to the German war machine. So the Army Air Corps
thought it was vital to bomb.
Returning from one of the bombing runs they ran into some German fighters. His B-24
was getting shot up and started to go down (near Vienna). He bailed out with the
crew. When he parachuted, he saw a German fighter fly by. He waved at the German
pilot and the German pilot waved back. Years later Don K. would say “I’ve heard how
German pilots would shoot the men that bailed out of the planes to get the kill.
I never thought at the time that the German pilot was going to come and kill me.”
Once He hit the ground he was found by a German patrol that picked him up. He was
then put in a P.O.W camp (Prisoner of War).
While in the P.O.W camp he hooked back up with the navigator of his plane. He then
learned that the co-pilot of his plane was killed when he hit the ground by German
civilians. “We knew that it was safer to be caught by German soldiers then civilians.
The reason was because they were pissed off at us for bombing their city and maybe
some of the civilians that caught you lost a relative in the bombing.”
When Christmas came he learned some German and was able to say “Merry Christmas”
to the German guards at the camp. Few months later he was moved to a different P.O.W
camp because the allies were coming close. The camp was liberated by the Russians.
He then hitched hiked back to British lines.
Discharged October 1945
Don K. After the war went and worked for Lockheed, to help with the building planes.
(he was a Engineer)
“When the Germans took me prisoner and I stayed at the camp, it was bad. I knew that
German soldiers were being killed to protect the Red Cross supplies coming to the
P.O.W camps. They were not bad to me while I was a prisoner, but they did commit
crimes in other camps and concentration camps.”