On Veteran’s Day, Chattanooga veteran recalls last WWII mission
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — On this Veteran’s Day, a Chattanooga man recalls his last mission in World War II – one that landed him in a POW Camp.
97-year-old Bo Cline vividly remembers December 23, 1944.
The Second Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corp says it was a day with a mission to hit up a German village with 33 planes.
But something unexpected happened in the air.
“I remember our tailgunner yelling out that here’s our escort but it turned to be fighter, German fighter planes and so we were locked in on a target at that time,” Cline recalls.
The plane he was on was hit.
“I was the Bombardier Navigator up in the nose, and a shell, when right between the co-pilot and the pilot and out through my Plexiglas wall,” he says.
Then they noticed their engine was on fire, he says.
The pilot lost control of the plane, so they knew they had to get out.
“I think we we’re about 3500 feet when we went out, and so I pulled that chute and down we went. The chutes were unguidable, you know, you just rode them down. And I landed on a railroad track, and I thought I was going to land on some telephone poles, but I landed on a railroad track. And I seen all the way down some woods that I thought well I’ll run for that, you know. So I was gathering up my chute when these German soldiers came running down the track and from there on, I was on my way to POW camp,” Cline says.
Cline spent several months at that camp before he returned to the United States.
He has many medals for his bravery and service; one of which is a Purple Heart.