Freedom Fighters: Lieutenant General Howard Fish

The prisoner of war medal, distinguished flying crosses, and numerous other medals can't begin to fully tell the story of Lieutenant General Howard Fish's career in the U.S. Air Force.

As a navigator on a B-17 in World War II, Fish made 22 bombing missions over enemy territory before his plane was shot down over Vienna.

One engine fell off and the wing looked like it was disintegrating.  There was a loud noise in my headset and the Bomber was going like this...get out get out. He collapsed and then I went out myself, Fish said. Id never made a parachute jump before and as I was pushed out in space I grabbed the rip cord and pulled it.

Fish was six miles up where there was not enough oxygen to sustain life.

As Fish floated to earth, he watched six panels of his parachute tear away one by one. To this day, Fish doesn't know how he survived the 26 minutes it took him to reach earth.

Fish was captured almost immediately by German soldiers and taken to an interrogation center near Frankfurt and then on to a prison camp near Nuremberg.

We decided we were going to escape and we did.  It wasn't hard.  We tumbled into a ditch, waited until they all went by, then we headed out to the west, Fish said.

Fish and his buddy were re-captured only a few days later and sent to a prison camp.

After a few days of that, Taylor and I decided we were going to escape again, Fish said. A couple of days later we waited our chance and tumbled into the ditch again and made it.

For five days, the two hid on a hillside. Fish was on point when they heard military vehicles approaching.

I jumped into the sand pit right on top of three Germans setting up a machine gun, Fish said.

Once again Fish was a prisoner of the Germans, and once gain he escaped, this time for good.

I was the only member of that outfit that had ever come back from prison camp, Fish said.

During the occupation of Germany after the war, Fish met Texan Jamie Tom and they were married.  In July of 1950, two days before the birth of their son, Fish was sent to Korea.

From an eighteen-year-old volunteer, Fish rose to three-star general, counted presidents and kings as friends and helped lead our country to victory in three wars.

At the time of his retirement in 1979, Lieutenant General Howard Fish was Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.

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