Wickliffe man describes father's time as POW - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Wickliffe man describes father's time as POW

As a World War II POW, Jesse Reno lived through the most inhumane living conditions for more than a year. As a World War II POW, Jesse Reno lived through the most inhumane living conditions for more than a year.
While stationed in Italy as a waist gunner in a B-17 bomber, his plane was gunned down by German forces. While stationed in Italy as a waist gunner in a B-17 bomber, his plane was gunned down by German forces.
At 80-years-old, Jesse Reno and 17 bus loads of veterans took a trip to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. At 80-years-old, Jesse Reno and 17 bus loads of veterans took a trip to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.
Reno says his dad was picked up and tossed into an Austria POW camp and for the next 13 months he would live in fear. Reno says his dad was picked up and tossed into an Austria POW camp and for the next 13 months he would live in fear.
WICKLIFFE, KY (KFVS) -

On the third Friday of September, Americans remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war and missing in action for National POW, MIA Recognition Day.

Americans across the U.S. pause to remember prisoners of war and the more than 93,000 Americans who have yet to return home.

As a World War II POW, Jesse Reno lived through the most inhumane living conditions for more than a year.

The walls of Wickliffe's, Kentucky Veteran and Patriot Museum don thousands of stories including one of Delbert's Reno's dad, Jesse Reno.

While stationed in Italy as a waist gunner in a B-17 bomber, his plane was gunned down by German forces.

"The pilot told everybody to bail out. Dad's best friend froze up, apparently and he told Dad to go in front of him. Dad was the last one out of the plane,” said Delbert Reno.

The rest of the flight crew was killed.

Reno says his dad was picked up and tossed into an Austria POW camp and for the next 13 months he would live in fear.

"They played ball and stuff, anything to stay active and to keep your mind occupied," he said. "The Germans laid out real clear, you had your line fence out here and then you had your wire fence. They said anyone who passed that wire would be shot instantly, no questions asked. They would be playing ball and a couple of people would go get the ball on the other side of the wire but they never made it back over the wire.”

The long ordeal ended when the camp was liberated in May 1945.

Jesse Reno was only 20 years old. 

He would return home to Wickliffe along with his wife where they would raise their three sons.

At 80-years-old, Jesse Reno and 17 bus loads of veterans took a trip to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Jesse worked as a preacher for 50 years following the war.

He died a year after his trip to D.C. at age 81.

Jesse Reno says it was a trip he never thought his father would be alive to take.

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