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. 

  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Cruisin' OC Weekend Raises Concerns

    Cruisin' OC Weekend Raises Concerns

    Although this weekend brought in a lot of business for the 25th Annual Cruisin' Ocean City, there were many people left in town that had mixed emotions about the event.More
    Although this weekend brought in a lot of business for the 25th Annual Cruisin' Ocean City, there were many people left in town that had mixed emotions about the event.More
  • Residents Worry About Uptick in Violence on One Particular Street

    Residents Worry About Uptick in Violence on One Particular Street

    In Dover, in recent weeks, shootings have mostly been concentrated on the south side of New Street with a person, a home, and a car being hit by gunfire.

    More

    In Dover, in recent weeks, shootings have mostly been concentrated on the south side of New Street with a person, a home, and a car being hit by gunfire.

    More
  • Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Locals React to Cruisin' Ocean City

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More

    Thousands of cars rumbled into Ocean City for Cruisin' OC but not everyone was thrilled about it.

    For 27 years unique cars have traveled from hundreds of miles away to drive up and down the streets of Ocean City.

    While this event might be a big attraction for people who aren't from Delmarva, not everyone gets revved up for the weekend.Locals said that over the past few years the noise and the smell has gotten to be a little too much.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices