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"I felt that if I was a fighter pilot, and there’s a war, what’s the point of not going?" (Audio Interview, 1:16:00)

   Miguel Encinias
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Miguel Encinias [1967]
War: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953; Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army; Air Force
Unit: 120th Combat Engineers, 45th Infantry Division; Air Guard P47; Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG)
Service Location: Sicily, Italy; North Africa; Corsica; Germany; also: Korea; also: Vietnam
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
POW: Yes
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Miguel Encinias joined the National Guard in 1939 at the tender age of 16, hoping to become a fighter pilot like those he’d seen in World War I movies. The outbreak of war granted his wish: just a few years later, he was flying combat missions in the North African campaign and had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Shot down on a mission over northern Italy in 1944, he spent the next 15 months as a prisoner of war. His incarceration did not temper his enthusiasm for flying or for the military; upon his repatriation, he took three weeks of leave before volunteering to head to the Pacific Theater, though the war ended before he could deploy. After the war, he pursued higher education, but went back on active duty to fly 100 missions during the Korean War. Once again, he was shot down, though rescued before he could be taken prisoner. After Korea, he served in France, Spain, and Germany, and volunteered to fly combat missions during the Vietnam War.

Interview (Video)
» Part 1 
Download: video (31 min.)
Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (94 min.)
»Photo Album  (7 photos)
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»Article - "Serving Again"
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Shot down; interactions with Germans; taken to an interrogation center; was only scared once, when a German refused to talk to him because of his skin color. (03:55) Transferred to Stalag Luft 1; extreme cold; spent 15 months in prison camp; wasn’t mistreated. (03:21) Germans left the camp as Russians advanced; he and three others decided to walk out instead of waiting for official liberation; arriving at Canadian lines. (03:51)
Decision to go to Vietnam; flying 66 combat missions there. (01:18)  

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  October 26, 2011
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