POWs - Wauwilermoos Prison in Switzerland
I was contacted by the grandson of a former pilot (deceased) that was held in camps, including Wauwilermoos Prison in Switzerland during World War II. After being apprehended during his attempt to escape, the Swiss transferred the individual to the punishment camp for a substantial period of time.
Conditions were found to match circumstances which the Secretary concerned finds to have been comparable to those under which persons have generally been held captive by enemy armed forces during periods of armed conflict.
To be eligible for the POW medal, armed conflicts are defined as ?World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Era, and Southwest Asia Conflict.?
The Air Force has been denying his requests for 5 years, regardless the track record of the medal. I was fortunate to obtain copies of letters signed by the Secretary of the Air Force; Secretary of the Navy; and Acting Secretary of the Navy authorizing the POW medal to over 200 American airmen held during WWII in another neutral country, Russia.
According to documents, only 2 out of 200-300 airmen held at Wauwilermoos Prison have been awarded the POW medal.
1. The veteran contacted AF Chief of Staff General Fogleman. The general responded by instructing personnel at Randolph AFB to prepare the ceremony. In 1996, Lt. General Record presented the POW medal.
2. The daughter of a former pilot contacted their U.S. Congressman. For being held at Wauwilermoos Prison, he was awarded the medal, recently.
My research has identified at least 58 bombardment groups that were involved with aircraft that crashed/landed in Switzerland. Approximately 1500 airmen were held while over 200 were sent to the punishment camp.
Why does such a number of veterans accept such an unbalanced system of recognition? You may respond that many members are deceased or too old to be involved. President Reagan approved the POW medal in 1986. That would make all members younger than what I am today.
You may believe I am too harsh in my introduction of the subject. As a 22-year retiree of the military, I have experienced too many discrepancies in the system proven by letters from a Major General, and information shared by former POWs.
I would appreciate any action identified what members of your organization has attempted in order for those assigned to the 301st be awarded the POW medal that endured such conditions.
Also, an opinion what should be done for those that were not recognized.
Finally, I do not claim to be a WWII veteran or a former POW.
Robert E. Johnson
Robert Johnson 16169 North 158 Avenue Surprise AZ 85374 USA (623) 546-3410 Robersabel@aol.com
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