US Army Air Force, (1942 – 1945) – pilot, POW, WWII
James Flynn, from Marceline, MO, registered for the draft in 1940, but it was late in 1942 before his number came up. As he had always had a desire to fly, he signed up for the US Army Air Force. He married Betty Othic, also from Marceline, while he was stationed in Sikeston, MO during training. After more training at different bases across the country, he was finally sent to Italy to fly a B-24 bomber on missions to attack “oil refineries, airdromes, rail centers, and other vital German-held targets in southern and central Europe.”
On Aug 29th, his plane was on a bombing run to Czechoslovakia to hit a tank factory. When they began to have engine trouble, they dropped out of formation, tried to bring the plane in for a landing, fought to keep the plane aloft, and finally decided to ditch the plane and parachute to the ground. James was soon captured and spent most of the rest of the war in German POW camps, in Yugoslavia, Hungary and finally Germany. His family was first informed that he was missing, and then that he was a POW. He was liberated by American forces in April 29th, 1945.
James wrote down his memoirs in a book called “The Big One: World War II” which is available to be checked out from the Brookfield Library. In the foreword he wrote:
“I wrote this book for my three children, Kathleen, Kevin, and Mary Felice, and my two grandchildren, Amy and Marissa. I did this so they would have an idea as to what I did and where I was in the service during World War II from June of 1942 through October of 1945.”