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Capt. Presley C. Funk III

Submitted by: Margaret Funk

From UP (University Park, Texas) to German POW

From an article in “Our Town” in the Park Cities People. Based upon an interview, May 27, 2004.

 
Excerpts by permission of Lindi Loy Boyer. Some additional information from later 2004 interview.

 
** Dr. Presley Clyde Funk, Jr.: After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, I knew I had to sign
up. I was accepted in September 1942 as an Air Cadet in the Army Air Corps. I was called to
report for cadet training in March, 1943. This picture is of me sitting on the porch of my
parents’ home at 3636 Haynie in University Park in November, 1943, while I was home on
leave following my graduation as a bombardier from Victorville, CA Army Flying School.
You certainly can’t tell from the relaxed pose and smile on my face that I was just
beginning a long, arduous, and life-threatening journey that would take me halfway
around the world. In early 1944, I was transported, along with the rest of my crew, to England.
During Operation Overlord (the U.S. code name for the Normandy invasion) on June 6, 1944,
the 387th Bomb Group flew four missions. Even though I had to think about target, point of
impact, evasive action, and the desire to get the hell out of there, it was seeing the battleships
Texas and Arkansas firing salvos at Omaha Beach that was most amazing. We were flying so
low because of the clouds that day that we could look out and see them on our left. Fortunately
no one in my crew was wounded on our two D-day runs during our assigned mission.
I flew 27 missions between May and Oct. 12, 1944, and, in my humble opinion, it was one too many. On my last mission, October 12,
after we dropped the bombs, we flew right over a German encampment where guns were mounted on railroad cars. Our plane was shot
down, and all but one of us bailed out. I landed inside the German lines where a 16-year-old German soldier with a Mauser bigger than he
was, pointed it at me and exclaimed, “For you, the war is over.” We were taken to Raon- L’ Etape for interrogation and waiting there for us
was the gun crew that shot us down--waving a blade of the prop of our plane with date and time on it like a trophy.
We were incarcerated in Strasbourg from Oct. 16-26, 1944, in an old castle, and then moved to Oberursel on Oct. 26, where we were
put in solitary confinement for what seemed like eternity. We were then moved by train to Sagan, where we starved and froze. We were
forced to march on foot from Sagan on Jan. 27, 1945. After 11 freezing, weary days, we arrived in Moosburg, where we were again behind
barb wire. It was an incredible sight to see tens of thousands of men marching during one of the most horrific winters Germany had ever
experienced.
Gen. Vannaman was an exceptional commander. He had volunteered to parachute behind enemy lines just to be captured and taken
to a POW camp so he could inspire, lead, and act as liaison for thousands of prisoners. One bright spot was our Christmas 1944 "show."
Our celebration was led by Col. Goodrich, who told hilarious, but rather colorful, parodies of Christmas tales.
On April 28, 1945, a P51 fighter slow rolled over the camp and waved to us. The next day Gen. George Patton himself drove into our
camp to liberate us. His tank crew threw us shells (some of which I still have) since they had no food for us. I made my own way to Paris
and was there for VE Day and from there was sent home on the USS Monticello, a liberated Italian luxury liner. There were 5000 of us on a
1500 passenger ship. I can’t begin to describe what it felt like to see the United States flag flying over the Statue of Liberty as I came into
New York Harbor on June 3, 1945.
** Dr. Presley Clyde Funk Jr. is a 1935 graduate of Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas. Highland Park, Texas and University Park,

Texas have become islands surrounded by the city of Dallas over these many years.  He used the GI Bill on his return to go to med school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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