George Selaty  (1917)

George Selaty (1917)

World War II · US Army

B-29 Gunner and POW

    Many years after the war, George broke his silence and talked to his children about his WW II experiences. He spoke of leaving his family, the brother and sisters he supported and his sickly mother Anna to join millions of men and women to stop a threat that would change the World forever.

    His words echoed like stone upon all of us. Acts of bravery, sacrifice and horrific death thousands of feet in the clouds in a B-29 Superfortress. "Skinny George" they called him, shooting at Messerschmitt Fighters from a gunner's blister on the fuselage. Exposed to deafening explosions and bullets ripping through metal and flesh, watching fellow airmen atomized and praying at the top of his lungs.

    Over 35 sorties...and then the last one that found him ejected, parachuted and badly wounded in the leg, a broken collar bone and ribs, stuck in a tree in some forest in Hungary.

    He stood and dropped his pants to show us all his scars.

    Dad said that as painful as that was, it wasn't as bad as the beating from rifle butts that broke his jaw and knocked his teeth out. The weeks of torture and starvation, fetid food, dysentery and watching everyone die around him, wondering if he would ever see his beloved Rosie or family again.

    When his captors heard the Americans were coming, the skeletal survivors were abandoned only to be rescued and nourished by farmers from a nearby village.

    "There, I finally got it of my chest," he said proudly. "What we had done, it means nothing if we cannot love each other, our children, our families."

    Johnny Selaty