Date of Interview
Les Schrenk was born on a farm in Long Prairie, Minnesota, on 16 November 1923. One of three children, he grew up on the farm. Les enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in November 1942. After completing Basic Training, Les was trained as a ball turret gunner on B-17 Flying Fortress four-engine heavy bombers. By early 1944, Les was flying missions from England with the 327th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, part of the 8th Air Force. On 22 February 1944, during a mission to Germany, Les' B-17 was shot down over German-occupied Denmark, and he was captured. After interrogation at the central Dulag Luft facility, Les spent time in Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow. When The Germans evacuated Luft IV on 6 February 1945, more than eight thousand POWs were marched out in groups, towards Germany. For Les, this meant eighty-six days on the road before being liberated by advancing British troops on 2 May 1945. With other liberated men, Les was evacuated to France, then to the United States. He spent some time recovering from his POW ordeal before being discharged later in 1945. Again a civilian, Les returned to Minnesota, was married in 1948 (wife Bernice), and remained a resident of Long Prairie.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Les Schrenk" (2005). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 70.