Sgt Robert Garvey - 8-14-2019
Sgt Robert Garvey was the nose gunner in a B24 Liberator flying missions out of Italy. He had flown 29 missions and was now “volunteered” to be a replacement nose gunner with another crew. Their primary target was covered by a heavy smokescreen. Over the secondary target at Innsbruck, they were jumped by German planes and damaged by flak. Their B24 was disabled and the crew had to bail out. Robert said, “the plane was going down, it was pretty easy decision to jump out.” Robert continued, “floating down was quiet, peaceful until he I the ground with a big whop.” It was about noon. They are trained to grab your chute and run for the trees. Robert did just that, when he felt a slap to his side. Puzzled, he reached in his shirt and discovered blood. He had been shot. He continued to run and felt another bullet strike his arm. Robert says today, “whenever a doctor asks me on a scale of 1-10 about pain, I say I know what 10 feels like.”
Robert was wounded and captured. He said he was well cared for by the Germans. He was held for nearly a year. As the Russians marched into Germany in 1945 from the east, his German captors marched their prisoners west towards the Allied lines. It was a rugged, circuitous route and often 15-20 miles a day. Many men died along the way. Many by bayonet.
One night the Germans told them, the next day they’d be walked into the American lines. That morning, the German troops marched them to an American checkpoint, surrendered themselves, their guns and their prisoners.
History would later refer to this as the “Black March.”
Robert wrote home saying he was safe. Robert was given a 60 day leave and the doctor told him in 45 days, tell them you need more rest.
Robert returned home, married in 1947, got his engineering degree and worked at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Charles.
Want to know about Robert’s story? Come visit the St Charles County Veterans Museum.
Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.