WW II Veteran, Former POW Recognizes Nat'l POW/MIA Recognition D - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

WW II Veteran, Former POW Recognizes Nat'l POW/MIA Recognition Day

Posted:
Maj. Robert Kurtz is shown in this World War II photo. Maj. Robert Kurtz is shown in this World War II photo.

WILLARDS, Md.- The nation is pausing Friday to recognize military service members who are missing and unaccounted for as the U.S government renews its commitment to find them. 

As part of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, WBOC sat down with Maj. Robert Kurtz, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war.

Kurtz, of Willards, has seen a lot in his 94 years. While it may be tough to remember something buried in the past, the Air Force veteran will never forget his 63rd mission. Kurtz was behind the controls of a P-51 fighter airplane in Germany when a German aircraft shot him down.

"When I crashed, my head hit that gunside, I started bleeding, rapidly," Kurtz said.

Kurtz crashed into the edge of the Black Forest, a deep, dark place.

"[They were the] biggest pine trees I've ever seen at that time," he said.

Kurtz credits soldiers for finding and getting him to a hospital, but it was German authorities whom he said put him in a prison camp for 11 months. Conditions were deplorable. He said it was cold, medical attention was scarce and there was little food.

"I weighed 112 pounds, so I lost quite a bit of weight," Kurtz said.

On Friday the nation recognizes those who bravely sacrificed their lives, but never made it home. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been working hard to find their remains. According to the agency, of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. At the end of the war, there were approximately 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. This number included those buried with honor as unknowns, officially buried at sea, lost at sea, and missing in action.

Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from WWII, according to the agency's website.

Kurtz's son-in-law, Bill Gordy, said this day is really important.

"It's great the POWs are here with us, but the MIAs, it's critical that we continue with a concerted effort to locate and recover them," Gordy said. 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Delaware DOC Releases Final Report on Vaughn Prison Reforms

    Delaware DOC Releases Final Report on Vaughn Prison Reforms

    Jul 17, 2018 9:51 AM2018-07-17 13:51:00 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:36 AM EDT2018-07-17 15:36:38 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    A special assistant tasked with implementing safety reforms at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center following 2017’s deadly inmate uprising released her final report on Tuesday.More
    A special assistant tasked with implementing safety reforms at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center following 2017’s deadly inmate uprising released her final report on Tuesday. More
  • Updated: Police ID Maryland Man Killed in Millsboro Crash

    Maryland Man Killed in Millsboro Crash

    Jul 15, 2018 8:33 PM2018-07-16 00:33:00 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:03 AM EDT2018-07-17 15:03:48 GMT
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a Maryland man killed in a Saturday afternoon crash in Millsboro.More
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a Maryland man killed in a Saturday afternoon crash in Millsboro. More
  • MEGA MILLIONS Jackpot is Getting Close to $400 Million

    MEGA MILLIONS Jackpot is Getting Close to $400 Million

    Jul 17, 2018 11:02 AM2018-07-17 15:02:00 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:02 AM EDT2018-07-17 15:02:49 GMT
    The MEGA MILLIONS jackpot has risen to $375 million for Tuesday night's drawing making it the tenth largest in the company's history.More
    The MEGA MILLIONS jackpot has risen to $375 million for Tuesday night's drawing making it the tenth largest in the company's history. More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices