Biography of Marion C. Hoffman

323rd Sqdn, 91st Air Grp, 8th AF, USAAF

     I, Marion C. Hoffman, was born July 8, 1922, the twelfth child in a family of fourteen, Boone Township, Dubois County, Rural Route # 2, Otwell, Indiana. I was educated in rural Indiana Public Schools graduated from the eighth grade. Later in life I would further my education, with four years of High School and two years of college with a business major. I also participated in sports programs, softball, baseball, and basketball. I was raised in a God fearing family of good moral character and disciplined by the use of a switch or whip, a much needed instrument for molding of character in that era of time. I operated and managed a 150 acre farm for my father for three years before my induction into military service.

     It all began on the farm in Southern Indiana, July 8, 1943. As for America, WWII was underway since Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. America had entered the war with Germany. On July 8, 1943, I became of age, I celebrated my 21st birthday. I had made my proposition to my father as to staying on farm, he declined, the cards were in his favor.

     My sweetheart Bernita Lucille Shelton and I were engaged when I went into the service. Due to the past farm experience, I signed up for the Army Engineer Corps. When arriving at Ft. Ben Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana, two smart Army Air Corps sergeants granted an interview and said we have a volunteer program, we can get you into, a Volunteer Flight Training Program. Somehow they could change the service choice for me to go into this program, which was my best decision.

     I was inducted September, 1943 into a Volunteer Flight Training Program organized by the Government for World War II. After three days of exams, I passed all, except my eyesight. They told me they did not need any Navigators or Bombardiers, there were enough washed-out pilots to fill those slots. I ask, what was open and has to do with flying?? They were glad I asked, we need Aerial Gunners, they said. That is how I became an Aerial Gunner.

    We arrived from Basic Training at Amarillo, Texas to Kingman, Arizona, Kingman Army Air Field for Aerial Gunners School on December 10, 1943. We were told there would not be any more Aerial Gunner Classes until January 3, 1944. In our Squadron were 54 men to a Barracks and the question among us was what will we be doing all that time?

    It was the next morning we found our destiny. We fell out in formation and when given at ease, a Staff Sergeant called out my name to stand over here all alone. This is the time we knew all the s--t details (common knowledge word for military) would be handed out, what did he have in mind for me standing all alone.

    The Sergeant gave out general duty assignments, latrine duty, cigarette butt pick up etc. When he had everybody on their way he came over and introduced himself to me a PFC in a real cordial way. He wanted me to know from there on we called one another by first name. Then the most startling words came, he said we will pay you $1.40 an hour for eight hours work, he then said come with me?

    We went down to the Non-Com Officers Club about 7:45 A. M. and he showed me what he wanted done. They had started at this time of the month to have Christmas Parties and the club was a mess, a disaster. Dirty bar, tables, chairs, dishes, glasses and floor. The time I started the clean up was about 8:00 A. M. and he said to try have it ready by 11:30 A. M. he would be down for inspection at 11:00 A. M.

   There old Marion was into it all elbows working at high speed $1.40 an hour. In three hours by 11:00 A. M. I was ready for his inspection. It met his approval and we set and talked until 12 noon when the next Christmas party group arrived and was the one to begin their Christmas celebration. It was then I wondered what will I be doing the next few hours. The sergeant told me to get lost go down to the Service Club, just do not go back to the Squadron area my pay would continue for the eight hours. I spoke to myself, what a racket, keep your mouth shut?

   Then I wondered the next day when we fell out for duty what the next assignment would be? The sergeant told me to stand over here. When he got down to all the men assignments except for the last six men he brought them over to me and told them I was in charge. He gave me the club door key and told me to proceed to clean up the Non-Com Officers club. He would be down to inspect at 11:00 A. M.

   When we opened the door of the Club House the interior of the club had been well used, more of a disaster than the day berfore. I divided the men into three groups explained the challenge and gave them their assignments. I pitched in with them to finish the job, the sergeant came down for inspection one half hour earlier than said but at 11:00 A. M. we were finished and it passed inspection. He gave us the rest of the day off but do not go back to the Squadron area until 1600 hours. This we did.

   We did this assignment for three more days, I was the only one getting paid. Then the sergeant ask me if I would work extended hours, I said yes. How would you like to go down to the Bowling Alley Lanes and set pins, I told him great idea? I set pins up until 2300 hours each night until Christmas. The officers, our patrons bowlers had money and they would bowl half dollar coins down to me after a game, my how the money rolled in.

   After the three day time Non-Com Officer Club, the sergeant ask me if I would work daytime down at the Civilain Service Club. Permanent party personnel's families were coming in to visit for the hoildays, waiters, dishwashers and general attendants were needed. I waited table, washed dishes, swept and mopped floors then went to the bowling alleys to set pins making a lot of money. My time at Gunnery school contained no monotony and the time went fast through the holidays. Christmas Day was great and I told the sergeant my classes would start on Monday January 3, 1944. I kept working until then in the Service Club and Bowling Alley.

   On Sunday January 2, 1944 the sergeant and I came to our parting day. He congratulated me in my new assignment and granted me good luck. I do not remember the sergeants name but he was one good guy to help me with my Favorite Duty in the military.

     With training at Aerial Gunnery School at Kingman Army Air Field, Kingman, Arizona, graduating February 21 1944. I had high scores in all our studies, including, targets with our live ammo guns. That was due to the rabbits, quail and pheasants we hunted back on the farm in Indiana. I qualified for Expert in Gunnery training and was awarded the Wings of an Aerial Gunner, a Winged Bullet.

     On February 27th 1944, we were sent to Salt Lake City, Utah for the gathering of the crew, where I met the nine men of valor who would be my crewmates. There our Co-Pilot Smith, asks who is this guy by name of Hoffman, with high scores? Shyly, I held up my hand and repeated my name, I am Hoffman. With reading the scores from Kingman, he said, you are our Tail Gunner.

     After being given all our crew position assignments, we were off to Sioux City, Iowa for our 12 weeks Overseas Combat Training at the 227th Headquarters Combat Crew Training School, Sioux City Army Air Base, Sioux City, Iowa. We graduated from the training with proficiency, on June 10, 1944.

     Then we were sent to Kearney, Nebraska to pick up a brand new B-17G, plus all our new gear and fly to Great Britain. We did well with our flight overseas until we reached Grenier Field, New Hampshire, where we ran into weather, delaying us for two weeks.

     Finally, we got off the ground to Goose Bay, Labrador. After leaving the coast-line of America, on the intercom, there was a discussion about who might not return again alive to the country we love. This flight was happening through Independence Day, July 4, 1944. We soon arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland, then to Nutts Corner, Belfast, Ireland. We went into Belfast at night, but it was over-run with sailors and not to friendly environment for airmen.

     Over night we then went by ship to England, by rail, to The Wash in East Anglia for the latest in Aerial Gunnery Instructions from men who recently completed their missions. After two week training, we were sent to the 8th Air Force, 91st Bomb Group, 323 Bomb Squadron, APO Station 121, Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire, England on July 19, 1944. It was one of the oldest bomb groups over there at this time.

   When we then were assigned our dormitory in a permanent brick building with four six man non-com officer crews. When we arrived in the room, we asked a crew there that day, where was everybody ?? They spoke up, you dummies, you are replacements, they all got shot down a few days ago. While we were there flying combat for six months this dormitory had lost three crews on our arrival, and emptied out two more times while we were there, plus our crew. Talk about losses, we were experiencing war.

    I flew my first combat mission over Munich, Germany on July 31, 1944. Through the attrition rate of crews and planes being lost, our crew on 18th mission moved from tail end Charlie, up to lead and deputy lead, in the group. We learned in October 1944, we had to do 30 missions, to complete the combat tour.

     In the period of first mission July 31, 1944, until we were shot down, we documented targets like Munich, Mulhouse, Peenemunde, Elsenborn, Metz, Halle, Berlin, Kiel, Ludwigshaven, Lutzkendorf, Frankfurt, Madgeburg, Neubrandenburg, Freiburg, Cologne, Hamm Merseburg-Leuna, Aachen, Altenbeken, Merzhausen-Kirck-Gons, Kassel and Cologne Deutz Bridge. There were no milk-runs on either of these. It was battle with fighters and flak in and battle out, this was to be expected, this was war.

     Just to highlight a couple missions, there were many more. We lost our Engineer Gunner, Frank Panek on October 30, 1944, we were badly shot up we just made it back to England after bombing Hamm, Germany. Frank was the only causality, he got his knee-cap blown out by shrapnel and a piece went through his lower leg behind the leader above the ankle, it did not cut the leader. Frank, is alive and well today in Allentown, New Jersey. This incident ended the war for him. For us, the rest of the crew, there was more excitement to come!!! On November 2, 1944, of 36 planes sent out, 13 got shot down, we lost a lot of good buddies that day. This day was the greatest loss of the 91st Bomb Group, during the war. There was many other near death escapades in this list of missions, mentioned above.

     On December 24, 1944, our mission was to wish Hitler a Merry Christmas. There were many maximum effort called, but this is to be a special one, the big one. That morning on briefing we were told we would not return to our base, because of a weather front moving in that evening. This day the Mighty Eighth Air Force put up 2045, B-17 and B-24's, a bomber stream at least 100 miles long. We our group were near the middle of Bomber Stream and looking back, I never saw so many aircraft. Asking permission, and approved to go to the front of our B-17 to look out forward a sight I will never forget. Our mission was encountered by German Fighters and flak, but our own fighter protection gave us great confidence of a safe mission. It was on the return trip home we ran into the cloud cover weather. We flew into a Storm Cloud Approach, it was called, close formation wing-tip to wing-tip and that was scary, for fear of an air-to-air collision. When we got down to about altitude of 500 feet above the ground, there we were flying in formation with landing lights on and circling the English country side, waiting for our turn to land at this airbase. A most spectacular sight the human mind cannot imagine for Christmas Eve 1944. I will never ever forget this Christmas. The lights, the circling aircraft, the whole English country side was a lighted, spectacular. When we did get on the ground, we had to stay put until told to get out of aircraft. We had not eaten since this morning breakfast and with it being 8, 9, 10 o'clock in evening, we were hungry and so tired we went to sleep on floor of a Quonset Hut until next morning, Christmas Day. We did get some K Rations from our aircraft for breakfast, then we were told a truck would pick us up at 1300 hours for return to our home base. We had Christmas Day dinner about 1600 hours that evening. Then to bed for much needed rest from one hectic Christmas Eve day and mission. The uncertainty, the agony, the anxiety grew, with our crew completing our 23rd mission. How long will we be able to continue this pace and complete the 30 missions tour ?

     Then on January 6, 1945 we were chosen to fly deputy lead in a special Pathfinder equipped aircraft on a primary mission to bomb railroad marshalling yards Cologne, Germany. Secondary target was Cologne Deutz Bridge over the Rhine River, downtown Cologne.

     Beginning early that morning like 3:00 A. M. our crew was awaken for crew briefing. Due to our briefing and other developing situations we did not have breakfast or our usual prayer off to the side of briefing room with the Chaplain. Schedules were all screwed up and things did not go well.

     The aircraft we flew that day 6 January was Jeannie #44-8501 from the 379th Bomb Group. The aircraft Pathfinder Equipped with F/O Donald K. Burkness as Equipment Specialist Operator. This was the first time we met.

     Deputy Lead in the formation of our group was a position in formation considered very safe. It should have been a milk-run. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.

  As was the case with all our missions this mission we as a crew always reserved an option out of a bad situation. Knowing we would be flying on a south-easterly direction off target we could escape by foot or glide that B-17 westward 35 miles into friendly territory France.

  On take-off and at the Buncher we got into deputy-lead assigned position. Going into Germany we flew a first leg pattern turn easterly, north-easterley, north-westerly then south-westerly. There was no flak going in until after the IP then flying my tail-gunner position I reported on intercom our first of a four burst barrage out about 1000 yards at six o'clock level. It did not get any attention from cock-pit up front. Then there was another four burst the second barrage this time closer maybe 600 yards. I reported again but no recognition, no evasive action. We were too close on bomb run for bomb release for there to be any change in direction. I reported when the third four burst barrage exploded right off tail. But due to flying away from the explosion it is my belief we flew away from the shrapnel and no flak hit us. There was the very short period before bombs away. And getting right off target, bombs away, we got the fourth barrage four burst direct hit in number three engine and there was fire, with extreme heat coming through the cabin back into the tail section. Also flames down the outside of aircraft coming off the right wing back past the waist exit door almost to the tail section. The 100 octane gas, the oxygen tanks going down the inside of bomb bay, the hydraulic system oil, all of it was inflammable and it was all fueling the fire.

      I am not a suspicious person but after the fact I always say it was the thirteenth burst of that four burst barrage, sixteen in all that hit us seriously.

     Our altitude had dropped a couple thousand feet and we had 35 miles to glide that B-17G to friendly territory. The call came, be prepared to bail-out. It seems the fire would not cease, in fact it increased in intensity. I had pulled the lock cable on the tail escape door but did not kick it out. It would only increase the draft making the fire more intense. With the fire so severe and hot I was afraid the right wing would weaken and melt away and we would never escape with the spiral that may ensue.

     Finally, the call came to bail-out I was setting at the tail escape hatch still on intercom and oxygen. I kicked the door out and abandoned the plane in a delayed jump as we were trained to do with the hope of escaping to friendly territory. Unfortunately, we missed freedom by 10 miles.

     Remember, when leaving our country America there was a discussion about who might not return again alive this way to the country we love. Unfortunately, and I say it with great emotion yet after 53 years, there were four of our crew killed this mission, this day, in early 1945. You see a Bomber Crew was a "Band Of Brothers" a "closer knit than brother" relationship existed, even in a (Pub) bar fight. What one guy would do for each other to protect him from death was human nature, in war.

     The Engineer Gunner, Fred Turner died, he went down with the plane. The Co-pilot Warren T. Smith sitting right seat, was hit by shrapnel and died a day later in a German hospital. The Bombardier Alan Hillman and Navigator Donald Williams landed on the ground, by parachute all right, but were shot through the forehead by German civilians and buried together in a common grave. Four men, four buddies, we must always remember them and others who gave the Supreme Sacrifice. After being taken captive, under the point of a gun, one loses his FREEDOM, one does not get to practice that which existed as a free man. It was not until the second day of captivity did we learn of Turner and Smith's demise. What is even more shocking even today, we did not learn of and about the death of Hillman and Williams, until December 1983, when the (MACR's) Missing Air Crew Reports were declassified. Maybe, the U. S. Government was taking time to fully investigate this incident, deserving War Crimes Trial investigation.

     Remember, this unfortunate incident happened on January 6, 1945. In comparison to others who were POW's much longer, for the next four months our four non-com enlisted men who were together, we endured, mans inhumanity to mankind, hunger, sleeping in fence rows and forests like hogs. Except, back on our farm, our hogs had bedding of straw to sleep on. We would sleep six men together, on brambles or brush to insulate from the cold ground with the outside man moving to inside of group every two hours to keep from freezing to death. Each of us had been issued a 4X4 foot blanket by the German's, but not much for cover. Besides that, of the 120 days we were POW's we were in 85 of those days forced march 345 miles across Germany. Average calorie intake was under 640 calories per day average.

   We were to be forced march from the Northeasterly part of Germany, we in our group were being forced march 345 miles under the awful conditions down from Prum, Gerolstein to Limburg then North of Frankfurt, Dulag Luft Interrogation Center down to Moosburg. Part of another group of POWs going through a similar force march were split from their group and joined us came South to Moosburg Stalag VI-A with us. Max Kimmel of Vincennes, James Terwiske of Ireland and Earl Ellis of Washington, Indiana. We all knew one another from our training days and near home communities. At Moosburg is where we all got together again. As of this writing I am the only one surviving.

      The journey began where we landed when shot down, across from the Battle Of The Bulge, ten miles inside Germany, Prum and Gerolstein. At Gerolstein we were incarcerated in an old barn for ten days, we were the only Airmen with about 75 Infantrymen captured at the Bulge. While there, due to not understanding one another a German guard shot two American soldiers. The German's laid their bodies out on display in a barn lot as an example, who was in charge. From there we were marched to Limburg Stalag XII-A, there only overnight, about 90 miles East, from the old barn. It was at Limburg, we were taken by the Luftwaffe. (German Airforce). Then to Oberursel, Auswertestelle and Dulag Luft near Wetzlar, Germany, spent seven days there being interrogated. From there, with 50 other Airmen, down through Frankfurt, where we nearly got killed from English bombing raid in railroad marshalling yard while setting in a Railroad car for transport South.

     Due to the bombing our train transport turned into a walk, we were force marched South to Nurenburg, Stalag XIII-D. Most of this was happening always on the road, between January 6, 1945, until March 20, 1945 we ended up at Nurenburg. Due to the stress, uncertainty, starvation, exposure to the element, I almost died at reaching Nurenburg.

   On April 4, we, 10,000 of us were marched out of Nurenburg, the last 85 miles Southeast toward Moosburg Stalag VII-A (7A). We arrived there about April 17th, put under tents on straw.

   Then on April 29, 1945, General Patton's 3rd Army about 1100 hours liberated 133,000 of us, all allies, all ethnic groups, all nationalities. When our Allies saw the German Swastika come down and the American Flag go up in its place. There was the loudest crescendo of shouting in each native language and culture, coming from all the compounds in Stalag VII-A.

     After liberation, we finally got out of Landshut, Germany Air Field, back to Rheims, France, then to La Harve, France (Camp Lucky Strike). Our return to America was by sea, by ship. When we arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, one night at Camp Miles Standish. Then by train to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, bus to Indianapolis, (where it all began), then bus home to Jasper, Indiana for a happy reunion with family.

                                  THE FORGOTTEN PHOTO of CHRISTMAS

  During WWII, in England flying with the 8th Air Force, 91st Bomb Group, 323rd Bomb Squadron this 1944 Christmas story occurred.

  At that time I wanted to send a photo home to my family for a Christmas present. Convincing them of my wellbeing while flying in combat.

   It was at a Photo Shop in Royston, England this story began. Royston was about three miles from our airbase. When I approached these British folks who operated the Photo Shop they understood the situation about Christmas presents. But they did not question whether I was flying combat missions or not, I was just another Yank with money to spend. Come on in and bring your money, no not exactly like that.

  Exciting things happened in our tour of duty with all the missions up to that number of 23 missions. We as a crew had attained up to Christmas at that time different combat fatigue problem. Mine a mental problem (forgetfulness, was one of them, the mental stress and pressure of combat had set in). The Christmas Eve 23rd mission, Holiday activities, New Years Day 24th mission, then the 25th mission, January 6, 1945, when we were shot down, had taken its toll. I had completely forgot about picking up the photos from the Photo Shop. I must have had a mental block, I do remember yet this day celebrating Christmas 1944. It was the Christmas Eve 23rd mission when we were diverted to another base landing in darkness and we did not get home to our base until Christmas Day at 1800 hours for Christmas dinner. This episode is another of my stories, "My Most Memorable Christmas".

  Then as luck and life would have it on that 25th mission I went through the four month POW ordeal, surviving from a near death illness. Three months of that time for my parents, I was MIA. In this four months my mother had been in contact with U. S. Representatives, U. S. Congressmen, Indiana State Politicians, Generals and others wondering where her son was, she was desperate, she had four sons out of eight in the service. Was this one dead or alive?

   With no knowledge of her son she was about to post a Gold Star Banner on the front window of our house. Then the Easter Sunday April 1, 1945 there is another one of my stories, the story "Easter Long Ago" message came into play. I was liberated April 29, 1945, then travel home to America.

  When I arrived there in Indiana on June 14th, 1945 and going through the front door of my home on a mantel in the living room was this individual photo. I was shocked into reality I had remembered the photo taken back in England in December. I was completely flabbergasted, really I cried. The urgent question for that moment, I ask my parents, how did you receive that photo? My parents thought their son being thoughtful had sent it home and did not forget them for Christmas, yet they held it in question because it came with my personal belongings. Then I told them the truth of my story about the "Forgotten Photo's of Christmas."

  After getting shot down some good soul from my H-Block dormitory room must have received the call from the Photo Shop in Royston, somehow, someway the photos were ready. It had to be after Christmas 1944 and after we were shot down January 6, 1945. That someone, made the purchase, they knew I was shot down either a MIA maybe a POW or dead. That someone knew how important the photo would be for my parents, their son who might be dead. So with my personal effects as commonly done they sent the photos along home to my parents. My parents did not receive many of my personal effects. Maybe the Chaplain or whoever decided what to send home thought the photo's most important. The personal effects that were missing did not bother me, I was home and alive I survived. But seeing that photo on display here in my home made the culmination of an adventure complete.

  In closing, my wife Bernita and I cherish the photo yet today, it played a very important part in our life relationship. The photo set on a prominent shelf in our home with many of our momento's of yester-year. At Christmas this year it will be the 57th anniversary for this once forgotten then remembered photo.

      I was home on 90 day leave after POW incarceration when on June 14, 1945, I ask my fiance Bernita Shelton if we could carry on where we left off, she agreed. Then on July 6, 1945 we were married.     At this writing, on July 21, 1998 we have celebrated our 53rd wedding anniversary. We have one daughter, Sheila, and two grandsons.

    After the wedding, we bought a 54 Overhead Indian Motorcycle as no cars were available at that time. We were coming back 60 miles to our home in Ireland, from Evansville, Indiana stopped at a Gas Station for gas, was told about the second bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Thank God the war had ended.

     After being Honorably Discharged from the service, I was employed by the Railway Express Agency in Jasper, Indiana, from December, 1945 to February, 1947. On February 3, 1947, I was hired by the then National Cash Register Company, (NCR Corporation), Dayton, Ohio, Food Service Department and was with them for 38 years. I worked internship in meat cutting, baking, cooking and business management. In 1965 was assigned to a management position which I held until retirement in 1983. I was a member of The Dayton Area Food Service Executive Association. The Miami Valley Resturant Association and The Dayton Foremans Club. I have a life membership, in Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Ex- Prisoner of War, 8th Air Force Historical Society, 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association, Air Force Gunners Association. I also has Life membership in The Veterans Of Foreign Wars, Ohio Chapter 8th Air Force Historical Society, (and was recently nominated to the Board of Directors) secretary's position.

     I have also performed volunteer service in Disaster Feeding of 10,000 people or more through the Red Cross. I worked on the Stewardship and Church Council of his Church and was President of the congregation, when building a new nave in 1961.

     I managed the church food pantry for feeding the hungry and homeless and remains active in various rolls of service in the church.

     Since retirement, I have spent time with hobbies, flying, woodworking, making clocks, motorcycling, computers, traveling and bicycling. In 1986, I became an author and have been diligently working on the authentication of my memoirs. I have written a book about my years in the service called "A VIEW FROM THE TAIL, The Last Mission", and my latest, titled "HOOSIER HUMOR and SHORT STORIES". I am now engaged in a new endeavor, publishing, printing, binding and promotional work required for the sales of these books.

     As you can see, I believe that activity of the mind in co-ordination with the body, keeps one healthy and the reward is long life.

     In our service during the war my crew and I flew in combat for for six months, flying 25 bombing missions over Europe. When shot down, of ten brave men, six of us survived, wounded, beaten and hungry. In the four months while Prisoner Of War we were forced to march 345 miles in 85 days across Germany. For this service, and the service of our other crews, my Unit earned two Unit Citation's with Oak Leaf Cluster. For my part I was awarded the Air medal, with four Oak Leaf Clusters, European Theater Medal with four Battle Stars, two Purple Hearts, American Prisoner Of War Medal, International Prisoner Of War Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Victory In Europe Medal and American Victory Medal.

      "This Was Not A Dream" these happenings were not possible, this was not our dream. This happening was war, the possible changes peoples minds. We were Airmen, there were many ways we were taken captive by the enemy, the suffering, hunger, beatings, no shelter, many ways of force march and incarceration. Around us, mans inhumanity to mankind was ever evident..

     By a sacred tie, we were bound like a "Band Of Brothers," A tie more sacred than any other in all the world, because we were American's, we know and enjoy our FREEDOM.

     Let every day be Memorial Day, to commemorate, to perpetuate the memory of those who gave the Supreme Scarifice for the FREEDOM we live today.

       What happen to all of us was not our choosing, it was not a dream, it was reality. It was we, only with the help of God survived, to be liberated, to commemorate, to celebrate life. WE WERE FORMER PRISONER'S OF WAR. GOD BLESS US ALL, GOD BLESS AMERICA.

       I do not know if any of you reading this ever heard of the POW Pledge of Allegiance. This originated about 1984 it was widely used here in Ohio at lots of Veterans group meetings. In most auditoriums a person can recite the words of the pledge and another person in a remote area, balcony or rear of the room read or recite the words in red. It has its emotional effect on all who hears.





I am and American, I was a Prisoner Of War I have served my country. I need no one to tell me what allegiance I owe … to my flag … to my country …. to my home ….


This is my country, I have fought for it I have been imprisoned for it and died for it …


This flag stands for me, for love of my country. My love for my family my love for my friends. I did not forsake it when I was starved, when I was beaten, when I was killed ….


I am one man, I have one country America I worship one God. Under God I was captured, under God I was saved, under God I have no fear ….


My allegiance is to Liberty, to Justice. My flag represents the best of myself, my effort, my home my country. I will pledge allegiance to the flag. I will pledge under the love of God. It is my right my privilege, my duty, I have earned it. Tell me not how! I have given you much. I am an Ex-Prisoner Of War. Take nothing more from me.


-----  Marion C. Hoffman


An English Girl's Impression Of Invasion By The Yanks, Marion C. Hoffman, 323rd Sqdn, 91st Bmb Grp, 8th AF, USAAF

A Memorable Christmas, By Marion C. Hoffman

An Easter Remembered, Marion C. Hoffman, 323rd Sqdn, 91st Bmb Grp, 8th AF, USAAF


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