SYSK: World War II veteran shares his story behind enemy lines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: World War II veteran shares his story behind enemy lines (part one)

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WEST UNION (KWWL) -

Lavern Alcorn still lives in his hometown of West Union, but he left once to serve his country in what was then the Army Air Corps.

Alcorn was about 19 years old at the time. He was a second lieutenant and went on 79 missions during WWII, but the 7th mission will stay with him forever.

He was supposed to drop two bombs, but one wouldn't go so he flew around to try again. That's when his plane was hit. Alcorn said the cockpit filled with smoke. So much, he could no longer see his instrumental panel or use his radio.

"I made the decision to bail out because I thought the plane was on fire, and I wouldn't be able to stay in it," he said.

Alcorn crawled out of the plane, used his parachute and landed in a small field in France. He said he saw some French people, so he whistled at them.

Alcorn said they provided him with French clothing. Everything but shoes because his feet were too big. They took him to a place to stay overnight and gave him food and a blanket.

"It's amazing how you can understand somebody even though you can't talk the language," said Alcorn.

The next morning, a man came with a wagon and took Alcorn to his house.

"When we came into his yard I saw my first German soldier. There were a couple of them in his yard, but he took me right into the house," said Lavern Alcorn.

The WWII veteran said the people gave him two choices: try to make it back on his own or go with some refugees trying to make it to a relative's house. Not knowing the language or the terrain, Alcorn decided to go with the refugees.

"It's amazing they even asked me. It was a dangerous thing for them to do," said Alcorn.

Despite passing a camp of German soldiers, they had no trouble reaching their destination.

The now 88-year-old said he was behind enemy lines for about a week, then the Canadians came. Alcorn left with the Canadians and eventually made it back to his group. He never got to say thank you to the people who helped him.

Alcorn opted to stay in Europe after his ordeal instead of going home. But, the story isn't over just yet.

We'll continue sharing Alcorn's story on Monday, September 12th during the KWWL news at 10 p.m.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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