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July 8, 2014

Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014

(Continued)

Zamperini death stirs memories

Regarding the article in the July 4 issue of the Tribune-Star about Louis Zamperini passing away; and that 72 years ago he was in a B-24 plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. It is interesting that the pilot of the plane, who survived the crash with Zamperini, both, in the end, survived the horrible treatment in the Japanese prison camp.

That pilot was Russell Allen Phillips, son of the preacher of our church, the Centenary United Methodist Church at Seventh and Eagle streets. Phillips’ girlfriend and much later his wife went to Indiana State Teachers College. Rev. Phillips was at Centenary from 1936 to 1942, at which time he left to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army.

I knew Rev. Phillips, but not his son, who was just a tad older than me. Later on, as soon as I could, I joined the Army Air Force to become a navigator. During that time I rode around in a B-24, but not overseas, and if you had to ditch a B-24 you had a maximum of 60 seconds to get out.

— David C. Mitchell

Terre Haute

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