Homer Jones, a Hometown Hero
SLATON, TX (KCBD) - Homer Jones had a strategic plan for enlisting in the military during World War II.
"I decided that I wanted to fly. And that it would be better to come back to a base away from the combat than to be in a foxhole in the Army," said Jones, 90.
So the Slaton native enrolled in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. But little did young Jones know that decision to fly would lead to the worst days of his life.
"It was just a small group of bombers that went on that mission but a number of us got hit and were shot down on that day," Jones said.
That day was September 24, 1944 and that mission was to go to Greece to hit the target.
But the target hit them instead.
"We got a direct hit on our right wing and got it knocked off with one of the engines," he said.
"Our plane went into a tight spiral and we got orders immediately that we had bail out."
Jones says it didn't take long for them to parachute down. However, what was waiting below them was far worse than they could expect.
"As soon as we hit the ground we were encircled with German soldiers," he said.
Jones had become a Prisoner of War.
"The most despondent thing that has ever happened to me (was) when I realized, at that moment, that my freedom was completely taken away from me," he said.
Jones says they were interrogated and locked into solitary confinement and starved for three days.
"I cried more in those three days than I cried in my life," said Jones.
Sometime during those eight months of complete misery, Jones and his friend Leon found hope.
"We were the only two that finally decided that during a bad snow storm we would try to get over the fence and escape," Jones said.
"My heart rate went high when we finally got over that fence and escaped and started running to find out where we could go to to get freedom."
After 48 days of fearfully trekking across Europe, Jones said they finally found freedom.
"I walked in on my family after taking a bus to Slaton, Texas. It was a great reunion," he said.
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