Skip to comments.Celebration for Benbrook man marks his 90th year and a remarkable war story he shared with few
Posted on 11/11/2011 5:29:28 AM PST by Dysart
BENBROOK -- Working a .50-caliber gun from the top turret of a B-24 Liberator, Dale Hulsey fought in one of the most dramatic air battles in U.S. history and still the single most decorated mission in Air Force history.
He survived the bombing run and the anti-aircraft fire, survived a crash landing when a German fighter jumped his plane, survived a frantic run into the woods to evade the enemy who had seen the bomber go down. He survived 319 days on the run by linking up with Marshal Tito's Yugoslav partisans, survived a brutal winter in the mountains and survived a daring rescue by secret agents.
But rarely did he talk about his war over the years or his hard-earned membership in the Air Force Escape & Evasion Society. His wife of 61 years, Velma, and daughter, Darlena, knew little until recently. His co-workers and acquaintances in the utility business over the years knew even less. He'd tried a few times when military service came up, but he gave up in disgust.
"People didn't believe me, and I got tired of trying to talk to people who acted like I made it up," he said.
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/10/3517152/celebration-for-benbrook-man-marks.html#ixzz1dP0UVKr7
(Excerpt) Read more at star-telegram.com ...
God bless him. Heroes walk among us, modest and unassuming. What a contrast to today. Happy Veterans Day all.
Why isn’t this man’s life yet a movie?
Happy Veteran's Day to all.
Think about the courage of all the people involved in the rescue of this man after this daring mission--the villagers, the Yugoslavian resistance, and the British and American agents all risked their lives in this cause. He and his fellow airmen took the war to the Germans even after their planes were shot down! Something to remember on Veteran's Day.
This generation of heroes is dying out fast, The next generation of Korean Veterans is starting to die out also, and the Vietnam Veterans are growing older.
America has always had men who were heroes step into the void and keep our country strong, Our heroes today are cut from the same cloth only their numbers are fewer,and appreciation for their heroic service is dimming.
Our military is under attack not by foreign enemies, but enemies right here in the Government.
It has to stop or we will have no country.
God Bless all Veterans on this day-—and every day.
At least a book. I hope somebody has catpured his exploits. I would like to read more about it.
Thanks for your post. This was a fascinating war theater for the reasons you mentioned— from the daring allied military tactics to the resistance dynamics to perseverance of both. Very profound and inspiring. And I do consider the heroic nature of these(young)men and can’t help but wonder how this generation would fare in the same role.
Why isnt this mans life yet a movie?
Excellent question. It is because Hollywood has become anti-american, and herioc stories such as this are not P.C. I had a good friend who was the second most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII, yet when he died he only got a local obituary. I wrote an obit on him. His stories and life history were every bit as impressive as this gentleman’s, but the media completely ignored him.
It is infuriating that these fellows are not recognized as they should be.
My friend was Tex (George) Ferguson. If you ever read the Matt Helm series, he could have been the prototype for the protagonist.
Thank you for sharing this story! God bless you Dale Hulsey!
God bless all our veterans, especially on this Veterans Day. We are America because of you!!
Amazing story. My eyes are all cloudy! Certainly, this shold be a movie.
A Movie? Lord, I hope not. Hollywood couldn't get it right.
Some stories just need to be told, and not embellished.
Hollywood wouldn't have gotten his story right, either, IMHO.
Between that, and the fact that most vets (at least the ones I know) downplay their roles, ensure that most things just won't be known. For instance, my Grandfather earned a Bronze Star for his exploits in the ETO, but if you asked him about it, he'd just say "Meh. Everybody got one of those." We had to wait until after he died (Dad cleaned out his desk and found some correspondence with the War Dept) to find out how he got it.
More of these-type stories need to be told, and told correctly, IMHO. Kids need heroes to look up to, not pop stars.
It wasn't real easy to get him talking, but he would, now and then. Some of the stories I have got second hand from mutual friends. Once he told me a story about recruiting a French official as an agent. I did not even realize that is what he was describing until a day later. He was just telling a story about buying some guns as a "Moral and Welfare" deal...
He was not OSS, but he did a lot of behind the lines stuff on the Pacific Islands preparatory to our invasions. He was in charge of the Bushmasters, a small group of army people who were trained in Panama in jungle warfare. After the Navy did not need them any longer for pre-invasion missions, the Army broke the unit up and used them as individual replacements for other units in the Pacific island hopping campaign. They lost more men there than they ever did behind the lines.
I saw him with his shirt off, once. It was like a roadmap with all the bullet and knife scars.
I read many of the Matt Helm series and was struck by all the similarities to Tex Ferguson. The physical description was quite close, and the expertise with guns, knives, and hand to hand fit as well. I just recently learned that Tex was a speed demon on the road as well, which fits the Matt Helm persona, too. After the CIA was formed, I have been told that they recruited Tex and he did a number of missions for them. Tex never told me that he worked for the CIA, but I am convinced that he did. I have heard it from too many people who knew him well.
I worked for a former bomber pilot [”I bombed the Hell out of Vienna!”] that was shot down over Yugoslavia. The partisans found him before the Nazis did. They moved him around for a week until a daring night time rescue flight was arranged to snatch him and some other downed pilots from a pitch-black field out in the boonies. He was the man that told me there are no atheists in foxholes.
Wouldn't surprise me. A close friend of the family (now deceased) was former SAS. Only way I found out was his wife let it slip.
When I said, "REALLY! You were?!!!", he told me that she was mistaken. Yeah right. After being married for 40-odd years to him I doubt that there's much she'd be mistaken about.
He was a serious character, too. Lots of good (but vague) stories, some of which might have a grain of truth somewhere within them. He got shot by an Arab Legionnaire while on camelback in the Suez, was in Korea and a few other garden spots as well. Said that the Chinese were the only military that scared him; they'd throw a million men at a hill and if one was left standing at the top when they were done, they called it a victory.
A local bit from the newspaper about the Bushmasters. Not much detail, but lots of names.
The “Bushmasters” was the name given to the members of the 158th Regimental Combat Team, which served in New Guinea and the Philippines against Japanese forces during World War II.
Clive Cussler writes barnburners of books in the same vein as Hatt Helm, and one of his main characters is Joe Zavala.
Interesting coincidence, especially as Cussler writes people that he knows personally (including himself) into a lot of his work. Corny? Yep. Hokey? Also yep. But, so are his paperbacks. And, he blows the proceeds on collecting classic cars taking his friends out diving for lost shipwrecks. I think that he'd be a fun guy to sit down and drink a beer or two with.
No idea how common a name Jow Zavala is, I've never heard it before today (other than in Cussler's books).