Nenadich, Sam Slavko
Date of Interview
Sam Nenadich was born on 18 October 1923 in Chisholm, a mining town on Minnesota's Iron Range. One of five children of Serbian immigrant parents, he attended local schools, graduating from Chisholm High School in 1942. Sam worked during 1942-43 on the track gang and as a drill operator at the Sherman mine (US Steel), then entered the Army in May 1943 after being drafted. Sam completed Basic Training and Air Corps gunnery school, and was made a top turret gunner and chief armorer on B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. He was posted overseas in July 1944, joining the 831st Bomb Squadron, 485th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force, in Italy; he flew his first mission in mid-July. Over the next five weeks Sam completed seventeen missions; on his eighteenth mission, on 24 August 1944, his B-24 was shot down over Czechoslovakia. Luckily, all ten crew members escaped the burning plane. Sam was sent to Stalag IV-B, in Grosstychow, northern Germany, where he remained until 6 February 1945. As the Soviet Red Army approached from the east, prisoners were evacuated by the Germans, and force marched. Sam and the other Stalag IV-B POWs endured two and a half months of marching before being liberated by American forces near Magdeburg, in central Germany, on 26 April 1945. Sam then spent time in several medical facilities, first in France, later in the United States, before being discharged in October 1945 with the rank of staff sergeant. Again a civilian, Sam returned to Chisholm, Minnesota, was reunited with his wife Florence (married July 1944) and raised a family, and worked for US Steel in various capacities; he retired in 1983. In retirement Sam and Florence (d. 1999) remained in their Chisholm home, where this interview took place in June 2003. Sam died on 26 December 2006.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Sam Nenadich" (2003). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 53.