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Whitney and Elsie

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First Name Middle Initial:
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Street:  4386 PETE SEAY RD City & State: SULPHUR, LA E-Mail:  wsimon212002000@yahoo.com
Zip: 70665 Phone:  337 583-7362 Spouse: ELSIE D
Conflict: WW2 Service Branch: Army Air Corp Unit: 8thAIR FORCE 305 B.G. 365SQ
Theater: Where Captured: BELGIUM Date Captured: 08/17/43
Camps Held In: STALAG 7A 17B How Long Interned: 627 days
liberated / repatriated: Liberated Date Liberated: 05/05/45 Age at Capture: 21
Medals Received: Air Medal, ETO. Good Conduct,P. H.
Military Job: Radio Operator B-17 Company: CITIES SERVICE OIL &CHEMICALS
Occupation after War:  OPERATING ENGINEER

Military Bio:

Whitney Simon;
Born on a farm in Louisiana, stayed on the farm until I enlisted . Took basic training at Keeslerfield Biloxi, Mississippi. Went to radio school in Sioux Falls South Dakota, gunnery school in Harlingen Texas. Trained in B-17s until June 3rd 1943 and headed for the ETO. Landed in Glasgow and took a train to Chelveston England.
I don’t know when we started flying but I do know we flew a mission on the fourth of July. Flew five missions before August 17th [ Black Thursday]. On August 17th we were scheduled to bomb a ball bearing , Schwienfurt. We made it to the target we encountered no fighters but plenty of anti aircraft. As soon as we dropped our bombs the pilot peeled off but it was too late flax had done its damage. One engine was gone so we could not keep up with the formation. We were fodder for enemy fighters. They kept at us until we went down.
Lost two more engines and were preparing to bail out. The plane went into a spin and the next thing I knew I was freefalling toward earth. I thought I was dead and was going all the way to hell. Somehow I opened my chute and I thought I had it again. I had a back pack being I was the radioman and had never opened a chute. I did not know that the cord that held it together came off completely in my hand. I just knew I had it again when my chute come open. When we hit the ground it did not take long for the German’s to round us up. An officer took us (Buckley, Baker, Bagwell, Luce and myself) to Belgium prison. Quinlivan and Grundman were seriously wounded and were taken to a hospital. I was taken to Frankfurt the next day, interrogated for about a week and then sent to Stalag 7A, Munich.
October 13th Thirteen hundred American Air force personnel were packed in boxcars and shipped to Stalag 17B, Kriems Austria where we stayed for eighteen months. It was about 12 midnight and we went to sleep. It did not last long for the bed bugs would keep us awake all night. We had to put up with lice and bed bugs for eighteen months. The way we got some good sleep in the summer was to sleep outside on the ground.
I will not go into details about we suffered, cold, no warm clothes, very little food and less as the war went on.
On April 12th the Germans decided to move us. We slept on the ground in the rain and snow. We marched about 280 miles to a patch of woods close to Braunau Hitler’s birthplace. Had to beg and steal food. We looked like skeletons when we finally arrived. We stayed in the woods for nine days and were liberated by Patton’s Third Division.
Went home for 60 days and then Miami and then to Monroe La. Where are I was discharged October23rd 1945.
Married a beautiful Cajun girl name of Elsie. In 1948 I went to work for Cities Service oil refinery. In 1977 I took early retirement and went to work for an engineering firm. In 1982 my health gave out on me and I retired for good at age 60.
In the meantime Elsie and I raised a family of four three boys and one girl, Terry, Sheila, Tim, and Teddy.

My Message to Future Generations:

DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE CREW OF PATCHES B-17 Crew – Shot Down Aug. 17th 1943 - Schienfuet Germany - L/R, back row - Lt. Wendell Luce - Bombardier, Lt. Bill Bagwell – Navigator, Lt. Ed Carter – Co-Pilot, Lt. Doug Mutschler- Pilot, Front Row - s/Sgt. Grundman – Tail Gunner, NORRIS Waldrop, (did not make trip), Baker - Waist Gunner, T/Sgt. Whitney Simon - Radio Operator, s/Sgt. Leo Quinliven – Ball Turret Gunner, t/Sgt. Carlton BoBerg,- TOP Turrent Gunner
B17 Crew Patches (see names) on Message to Future Generations

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