Volume III: Combat, Captivity, and Reunion —The Things Our Fathers Saw [2017]


Acclaimed oral history featuring the American veterans of the air war over Europe during World War II, Part Two. A Tuskegee airman, fighter pilots, and bomber crews talk about being shot down, the prisoner of war experience, and being reunited again after 60 years, in their own words.

Volume 3 is about the Air War again, and this time I have some of my friends who were fighter pilots, including a Tuskegee Airman who had to deal with racism back home, on top of defeating fascism in Europe. There is also the story of my B-17 crew friends, sitting around a table and telling about the day they were all shot down over Germany, and how they survived the prisoner-of-war experience in the last year of the war.

—"After the first mission Colonel Davis told us, ‘From now on you are going to go with the bombers all the way through the mission to the target.’ It didn’t always work, but that was our mission—we kept the Germans off the bombers. At first they didn’t want us, but toward the end, they started asking for us as an escort, because we protected them to and from the missions." —Tuskegee Airman, WWII

— “[Someone in the PoW camp] said, ‘Look down there at the main gate!’, and the American flag was flying! We went berserk, we just went berserk! We were looking at the goon tower and there’s no goons there, there are Americans up there! And we saw the American flag, I mean—to this day I start to well up when I see the flag."

Former prisoner of war, WWII

— “I got back into my turret. Fellas, the turret wasn't there anymore. That German fighter who had been eyeing me came in and he hit his 20mm gun, took the top of that Plexiglas and tore it right off!

Now we're defenseless. The planes ahead of us have been shot down, we're lumbering along at 180 miles an hour, and these fighters were just [warming up] for target practice.” —B-17 Turret Gunner



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