Somerset native Paul Sears spent his past week in 1943; reliving his World War II experience as he went on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
Sears joined 27 other WWII vets on a day trip to our Nation’s Capital to see the WWII memorial created in their honor.
“It was the thing to do then,” Sears said.
In 1942, Sears signed up for the Army Air Corp. This was just two months after his 18th birthday.
Sears said he was part of a bombing squad, which he called a family. A family you live or die with.
“Think what a day carried there. Get up early, about four o'clock in the morning to have breakfast and have briefing.Get ready for the trip,” he rembered.
On his first mission, Sears said he was given a baptism into what war means. They lost half of their squadrant that day.
Then in 1943, Sears’ bomber crew was shot down; and he became a Prisoner of War.
“At night you could hear the German Occupation Troops singing down in the village square,” Sears said about his first night in his dungeon. “And you wondering what's going to happen the next day.”
Sears said there are a lot of unknowns when you’re a POW. He didn’t know what to expect.
“It's minute by minute almost,” he said.
After nearly 19 months, Sears was rescued.
“Those are things you don't forget,” said Sears. “And memories of a lot of events are as if they occurred yesterday, even though they occurred 70 years ago.”
Sears said it taught him to appreciate the little things in life, and that being a POW is not something you want to live again.
“Everything worked out well. I am a lucky and fortunate survivor. Period.”