Irvin F. Stehlik of Wilber, Nebraska was in the Army Air Corp. as an Air Mechanic and Crew Chief for about a year.
He became qualified to enter Aviation Cadet Training and was later commissioned as Second Lt. and received his pilot's wings. He served overseas with the 401st, Sq. 91 Bomb group as a Combat Pilot. On Feb. 4, 1944 he and his crew were shot down on a raid to Frankfort Germany.
They were captured on site when they had to crash land near Eindhoven, Holland. One engine had lost power due to flak, and soon after, their second engine was hit as well. A B-17 could not carry its bomb load with only 2 engines, so the crew decided to dump its payload and abort the mission.
When they were captured (due to their 50 caliber machine guns exploding after the plane caught fire) the Germans briefly interrogated them at gunpoint. From there Ski and his crew were taken to an interrogation center in the very same city they were to bomb the day before. After 11 tense days at the interrogation center Stehlik's crew was sent to Stalag Luft I. After 15 months behind barbed wire, Stehlik was liberated by Russian troops on April 30, 1945.
On June 5, 1947 Ski was married to Evelyn Sukovaty.