Bedford veteran to receive Prisoner of War Medal
He was slightly injured in the crash and was imprisoned in a hotel in Davos, Switzerland. Although he was allowed to receive his paycheck and move around the town, he had a curfew. He scouted the area and planned his escape, was captured and escaped again. He was then put in the prison camp at Wauwilermoos, which was commanded by a pro-Nazi Swiss officer.
"I feel very fortunate," said Mahon.
Mahon's son, Patrick, said his father never talked much about his incarceration and escapes, but he has heard stories that his father hid in a church, dressed up as a woman to hide, wore eight scarves to stay warm and was part of an organized network that helped escapees.
Mahon will be accompanied to the Washington, D.C. ceremony by 20 family members, including his four sons, Patrick, John, Joseph and James Jr.; most of his 14 grandchildren, and three of his four great-grand children.
He finished his training at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, on April 7, 1944. He was assigned as a navigator and bombardier to the 429th Squadron of the 2nd Bombardment Group, operating from Amendola Air Base in Foggia, Italy.
He had worked at Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey.
"He was hired because of his background in electrical engineering and ended up in the commercial development division," said Patrick Mahon.
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