Americans Home From Siberia
On October 2, 1992, the secretary of the Air Force acknowledge and
honored a unique group of WWII Veterans.
A little know story of WWII was the relationship of the U.S. and
Russia during the time prior to Russia declaring war on Japan.
According to International Law, Russia was a neutral country and was
obliged to intern personnel of warring nations if they were within the
control of Russian armed forces.
Until the mid 1980’s, the activities of these airmen was highly
It all started with the famous Doolittle Raiders. One crew, Lt.
York’s, due to a fuel shortage, landed north of Valdivoltok instead
of China, and were instantly interned. Over the next three years
thirty six other crews, for a total of 291 Americans met the same
fate. With the exception of 4 B-29 crews of the 29th Air Force, these
airmen were members of the old Army Air Corps and Navy Air Wing 4 form
the Aleutian Islands. They were flying missions against the Japanese
In case of aircraft damage the preplanned escape route was to
Petropovlavsk, Kamchatke Peninsula. “Petro” was a holding point
until a group became large enough to move across Siberia to another
holding point at Tashkent Russia. The trip across Siberian R.R. to
flying in old C-47 is with Russian crews. All in all five separate
groups were held and released by various methods. The last group, of
which I was a member was released after the war had ended.
The survivors of the ordeal have formed an organization known as the
“Americans Home from Siberia” and are a part of the Eleventh Air
On October 3, 1992 at the banquet following the 11th Air Force Reunion
Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney made a surprise presentation of the
P.O.W. medal to the members that were present, recognizing them 47
years after the fact.
Mr. Otis Hays Jr. has written and published an outstanding book that
tells the story as it really happened. “Home From Siberia”, the
secret odyssey of interned airmen in WWII. Texas A&M University
Burial Of A POW In May 1945 On
Winters Mission In Petropavlousky,
Kamchatke With Lt. Kleinkes B-24 Crew And Lt. Winters B-25 Crew
Click Here to
see the routes taken by Lt. Kleinkes and Lt. Winters crews while a POW