Sun. 6:52pm: Vet had prisoner’s view of war

WARREN – His crew was about 10 minutes away from the target just south of Berlin when Henry M. Beben heard the call to “bail out.”

The B-17 bomber was on fire and he could see pieces of the aircraft falling off and flying away. His parachute wasn’t where he had put it and “everything was chaos.”

Crew members were already jumping out of the plane when Beben, a flight engineer, finally spotted his parachute, made it to the hatch and jumped.

“The plane exploded in two parts. I was there but I didn’t even realize how bad it was or how it looked until later when I saw the pictures. It’s a good thing I made it to the hatch. If I had still been inside the place when it exploded. I don’t like to even think about it.”

Beben, 92, of Warren, said it was by the grace of God that he survived that experience and the next 16 months as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II.

Read the complete story in Monday’s Tribune Chronicle and at