By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Darrel D. Hornsby
Date of birth: May 21, 1919
Dates of service: 1942 to 1953
Lives in: Tucumcari
Theater and location of service: Europe and Korea
Branch: Army Air Corps, Air Force
Unit and specialty: 8th Air Force, B-17s
In his words: In the heart of enemy territory, Hornsby bailed out over Germany. A B-17 pilot, he was on his 29th bombing mission.
“It all happened pretty quick. A fighter plane got us. Nine of us were onboard, only two of us got out,” he said. In 15 to 20 minutes they were rounded up by the Germans. “When you’re in the middle of Germany you know you’re not getting away. I don’t think I knew what was going to happen.”
Capture was something they had been prepared for he recalled “we were trained about what to do and what to say. Name, rank and serial number — and that was about the end of the talking.”
Spending 11 months in the German POW camp, time just stood still for Hornsby and the others. There were about 3,000 prisoners.
“We played cards and walked the fence. We played volleyball and stuff like that,” he said.
They were sent home when the war ended.