Virginia Man Tells WWII Tale To St. Louis County Board

By KBJR News 1

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 10:07 AM CDT

Industrial Township (NNCNOW.com)
"First mission, I saw two B–17's in the first echelon right in front of me get direct hits with flak." said Robert Givens.
During World War Two, Robert Givens of Virginia was a B–17 top turret gunner with the 452nd Bomb Group based in England.
On his sixth mission, pilot error or mechanical malfunction sent his plane into the English Channel.
"It went up like this and then it went up on the other side and I'm sitting in the turret saying this is not normal!" said Givens.
Tuesday morning, Robert Givens told his tale to an appreciative Saint Louis County board during their meeting in Industrial Township.
Givens was the first speaker in a program designed to pay tribute to county heroes.
"This is a new initiative of Commissioner Dahlberg and Commissioner Nelson instituted the first installment of it." said Dan Hartman of Veterans Memorial Hall.
The board heard Givens talk about blacking out before he could bail out and then coming to in mid air in time to pull his parachute.
He then found himself floating in the English Channel saying his prayers.
"I says I won't smoke no more and I'll go to church every Sunday and I'll never drink again as long as I live." said Givens.
A British rescue plane picked Givens up and brought him to base for treatment of three crushed vertebrae and a gash on the head.
To Dan Harman of Veterans Memorial Hall in Duluth, stories like these need to be heard.
"I think it is important to remember all veterans of all eras because these guys went through amazing conditions and our country exists today because of the sacrifices they gave." said Hartman.
In Industrial Township, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

After his rescue at sea, Robert Givens served three more years in the Army Air Force; first with B–29 bombers and then with fighter planes.