Birthday: April 15, 1919
Birthplace: Nekoosa, Wisconsin
Branch: 8th Air Force
Unit: 389th Bomb Group
Post: Radio Operator
Prisoner of war identification tag.
Norman Casey enlisted in the Air Corp three years before the war. He was in the 8th Air Force in the 389th Bomb Group in the European Middle Eastern Theatre. His role was a radio operator controlling the transmitter and receiver in the plane.
They flew in a B-24, which held ten people: four commission officers, a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator, gunner, waist gunner, and tail gunners.
Norman was mostly stationed in England. They flew nine missions before they were shot down. Seven of the missions were from England and the other two were from Benghazi, Libya. Most of the missions were day missions lasting no more than eight hours. Norman went over to the English base with the 93rd bomb group, which was the second group from the states. When he didn't get the ranking he thought he deserved, he was transferred to the 389th Bomb Group.
"While on our last mission, Bremen, Germany December 20, 1943, our plane was shot down. We lost two engines on the same side and were loosing 1,000 ft. a minute. When I hit the ground, I stomped my parachute into the mud so they couldn't use it. Right away I had a rifle to my chin and the man pointed at something inside my flying suit. I reached inside to see what it was that he wanted and the rifle came right up from under my nose. The man thought I had a pistol, but I only had an escape kit."
Norman was taken to Stalag 17B, which was one hundred meters northwest of Gniexendorf village. Gniexendorf is located six kilometers northwest of Krems, Austria. The entire camp contained 29,794 prisoners of war from various nations. Norman was taken to solitary confinement for the night. They were not mistreated but there were a few exceptions. "This one German walked up to this American and said, `I always wanted to see what it would feel like to kill an American.' And he shot him right there. The worst thing about the prisoner of war camp was that you were always so hungry . The Russians were not as well treated as the Americans were. Most of them were dying of typhus, because they had no Red Cross. Norman got diphtheria and almost died. The prisoners could tell the Russian Army was getting closer, because the Germans were getting very nervous." On April 8, 1945, 4,000 prisoners of war began an 18-day march of 281 miles to Braunau, Austria. The cold weather killed many of the prisoners. Their destination was a German camp with Russian prisoners. When they got there they had to build huts since there was no housing. On May 3, 1945, six men of the 13th Armored Division liberated the camp. Norman had been a prisoner of war for a little over sixteen months.
"At the camps we received very small rations: coffee that wasn't fit to drink, powdered milk, a box of raisins, a box of crackers, and a small box of cheese. After we were liberated we received "A" rations: bread that looked and tasted like cake and buttermilk."
Norman served as a radio operator for three years before the war, three years during the war, and was a prisoner of war for sixteen months. He returned to the U.S. on June 14, 1945. On October 8, 1945 at Cochran Field, Norman was discharged as technical sergeant. Norman belongs to the Caterpillar Group. In order to be a member, the parachute must have saved your life, not just used. He has received several awards such as: American Defense Service Medal, EAME Campaign Medal, Air Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
under Learn and Serve American Grant #00LSFWI104