14 May 1943 [legacy, Adam Wygonik]|
Adam Wygonik (Reed Crew)
Letter from Adam Wygonik
10 July 1985
I hope that this info will be helpful in your work on your book, which, I think, is a fine idea.
I joined the group early in 1942 at Barksdale, LA.
I was on my 19th mission to Kiel, Germany on May 14, 1943, as an engineer and top turret gunner on Lt. J. Y. Reed's crew.
We were on the bomb run, bomb bay doors open, and I received a direct 20mm cannon shell in the top turret from a FW 190.
I was blown down to the catwalk in the bomb bay, badly wounded in face, head, eyes, arms, and hands. Sgt. Perry, our radio operator, put a parachute on my harness and (apparently) shoved me out, probably saving my life as I don't believe I could have survived the long trip home and then bailing out over England.
I landed in Kiel, Germany. Captured and moved to some hospital in Kiel. There, I recuperated for a few days, then sent to Sandbastel Hospital just a few miles from Kiel. There, I recuperated from most of my injuries. I was the first American POW in that part of Europe.
After about six weeks, I was sent down to Frankfurt for interrogation; then on to Stalag 7B in Moseburg.
About six months later, we were shipped to Krems, Austria, Stalag 17B.
I had my right eye removed at a hospital in Vienna. In august of 1944, I was sent to a place near Middleburg (I believe) in Germany and in September 1944 was repatriated in the first group of Americans. I returned to the U.S. in late September 1944, on the ship Gripshom, and after being in three hospitals in the U.S. I was discharged in September 1945.
Will, if you would like or need anything else, please let me know. Good luck with your book.
Reed - 66 Sq.
Kiel, 14 May