LAWTON (KFDX/KJTL) — On March 18, 1945, former Air Force Colonel and POW Jack Spencer was on his 14th mission, a mission that led to his capture.
“About 15 seconds after we had toggled our bombs, in came this guy from 6:00 low again right to the bottom of the fuselage with a nose cannon, largest, biggest sound I’d ever heard in my life, the smoke started blowing up into the aircraft where the pilots were and then into the nose of the aircraft where the navigator and bombardier were,” former Air Force Colonel and POW Dr. Jack Spencer said.
Spencer got the cue to bail out, pulling the ripcord of his parachute at around 20,000 ft., never losing consciousness.
He looked down and saw his landing spot., what he believed to be a city park.
“People were roaming around and then there were some troops marching around the site and so anyway, I couldn’t have had an easier landing, they saw me coming and I saw them of course so my parachute caught between two trees, let me down just as gentle as a lamb and all I had time to do was just unbuckle my chute, raise my hands, and there was a pistol on my forehead,” Spencer said.
He was rescued from a German prisoner camp when WWII ended in May 1945, but he remained active in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, hauling cargo all over the world.
Visiting 48 different countries and gaining more than 5,000 extra flight hours between 1963 and 1977.
He retired in 2018 as a chiropractor on his 94th birthday.
“People ask me now that I’m retired, you gonna travel, I said no, I’ve seen the world,” Spencer said.
He spent Sunday afternoon at VFW Post 5263 for the second annual veteran’s luncheon where folks served a meal and honored heroes from all walks of life.
“We learn from our elders, so we pair them up, they share stories and it gives that older veteran a sense of self-worth and when they walk out of here with a full belly and smile on their face, we know we’ve done our job,” VFW Post 5263 Quartermaster Ronald Frampton.
Learning from Spencer, who said his country needed him.
“I know that it was a war that had to be fought, it just absolutely had to be fought and I just thank God that I was available and that he needed me and that I got out of it alive,” Spencer said.
Spencer went to basic training in Lincoln, Nebraska before becoming an aviation student in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
He said that’s one reason why he wound up in the state of Oklahoma.