Summary

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Birth:
1922 1
New York 1
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Lt. Robert L. Pioli
Lt. Robert L. Pioli
B-17 Bombardier. 15th Air Force, 2d Bomb Group. Foggia, Italy. Shot down over Gyor Hungary April 13, 1944. POW in Stalag Luft III. Victim of "the march" to Stalag Luft VII. Liberated by Patton's 14th Armored Division on April 29, 1945.
A B-17 in Foggia, Italy.
A B-17 in Foggia, Italy.
"I was hoping the mission would be a milk run."
Liberation Day, Stalag Luft VII. Moosberg
Liberation Day, Stalag Luft VII. Moosberg
We POWs mobbed the tanks of the 14th Armored Div. April 29, 1945.
Page 16
Page 16
A matter-of-fact description of 10 crew members of a B-17 disappearing from

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Personal Details

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Person:
Robert L Pioli 1
Level of Education: 4 years of high school 1
Marital Status: Single, without dependents 1
Birth:
1922 1
New York 1
Residence:
Place: Niagara County, New York 1
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Enlistment Date:
23 Oct 1942 1
Army Branch:
Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA 1
Army Component:
Selectees (Enlisted Men) 1
Army Serial Number:
32554022 1
Enlistment Place:
Buffalo New York 1
Enlistment Term:
Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
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Occupation:
Unskilled nonprocess occupations in manufacturing, n.e.c. 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 0531 1
Film Reel Number: 2.195 1

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Stories

Liberation, Stalag Luft VII

Moosberg, Germany

Liberation Day, Stalag Luft VII. Moosberg

Then, finally, the most memorable day in my entire life, Sunday, April 29, 1945.  It was a bright sunny day.  A P51 buzzed the camp at rooftop so close you could see the pilot wave to us and a barrage of gunfire sounded just outside the camp. We were beside ourselves, all certain this was IT!  Then all hell broke loose in the camp.  Bullets were flying from all directions.  We hit the ground terrified that we had bought it and this the last day of our war.  As suddenly as the gunfire started, it stopped and the stillness was deafening.

Then came the rumbling of the tanks.  The most beautiful people in the world, The 14th Armored Division, their tanks came crashing through the gate.  Those poor GIs, we mobbed them, they were literally covered with humanity.  We were overjoyed to see their friendly smiling faces. 

And them the most dramatic and emotional moment I have ever experienced occurred.  Off in the distance we could see the Stars and Stripes slowly being raised over the nearby town of Moosburg.  It was indescribable; there was not a dry eye in camp.  I still get emotional when I think back to that moment.  The flag may just be a symbol to many, but to me it's Moosburg and that day in April 1945.  I love to see our flag flying. 

Then lo and behold, over the horizon came the man himself, General George S. Patton!  He was just what one expects, shiny helmet, trench coat, pearl handle six guns and always standing in the shiny jeep.  What a figure impressive to say the least.  We stood in awe.  He seemed to take one look at us and gave the order: "Feed these boys."  That's it, that's all!  Field kitchens materialized out of nowhere and we had hot food.  The man is my Hero.

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