Pilot & Crew
On June 26, 1944, just weeks after D-Day, Lt. D. M. Rymer and his crew of nine airmen climbed into a B-24 Liberator named, Buffalo Gal, and took off on a bombing run from southern Italy, toward German occupied Austria. Somewhere over the target his plane lost engines 3 & 4, after being drilled with an 88mm round from German Luftwaffe fighters. As he struggled for control and fell out of formation he ordered the bombardier to drop the payload while the gunners dispatched one of the German fighters.
Unable to keep Buffalo Gal aloft, Lt. Rymer ordered all men to bail. As the pilot, he was the last to jump out of the failing bomber. He leaped, pulled the ripcord and crash landed seconds later, onto a pile of firewood next to a barn. 8 of the 10 crew survived the jump. Lt. Rymer was beaten by a local farmer whose house had been damaged by the failed aircraft. The local gestapo arrested him and handed him over to the Nazis who then took him to Sagan, Poland as a P.O.W. where he stayed in Stalag Luft III, the same camp depicted in the movie, the Great Escape. As the Russians advanced across the Eastern Front, he and his fellow captives were forced to march through the bitter winter toward Germany. The P.O.W's endured cold and hunger but held their resolve, thanks in part to the few Red Cross rations the Germans allowed them to keep. Lt. Rymer was liberated from Stalag Luft VII-A, north of Munich, by U.S. Armed Forces on April 29, 1945. He captured the 10 months of hunger and hardship as a P.O.W. in a diary of sorts, written on toilet paper & scraps of paper, which he kept hidden in his shoe.
The word epic means heroic poem. This brief epic is not only for them, but for all who have served and sacrificed for freedom.