At the sermon, he was reminded of the promise he made to God on the raft. This would be the last free moment of either manâs life for two years. Louie and Phil would stay on Kwajalein for 42 days.
Three days later, the fighter planes were replaced by six B-29s, and pallets of supplies started falling from the sky.
Both Zamperini boys went to their family home in Torrance to say goodbye.
By the time the ship reached Germany, many had gained weight, including a javelin thrower who gained eight pounds over the journey. There were air raids along the west coast, and trenches were dug and schools closed up and down California. There was a supply box and two rafts onboard, as well as safety vests for the 11-man crew. He even broke one kidâs nose and beat another unconscious. His parents didnât know what to do with him. Both Louie and Phil were pulled from their cells on several occasions. Around the time that Louie started his training in Houston, the U.S. government, aided by the FBI, received word that Jimmie Sasaki was working as a spy for Japanese intelligence. The Americans brought supplies to the POW camps and eventually liberated them.
They survived by catching birds, eating the raw flesh, and using the rest as bait to catch fish. Against unimaginable odds, Louie pushed his will beyond the limits of his body and mind to allow his spirit to never be broken. The American government assumed invasion was imminent. Many of the other athletes were from communities afflicted by the Depression, and they gorged happily.
Louie let Lash take the early lead and hung back in the middle biding his time. All of the men were emaciated and weak, but Mac suffered the worst. During the next two years, Louie endured physical and psychological torture at the hands of his captors.
He told the crew, âPrepare to... On the island of Palmyra, the Daisy Mae landed as the afternoon sun waned. Louie and Philâs crew flew in two significant missions that helped destroy Japanese strongholds in the Pacific. Inside the package was also a magazine with a picture of the nuclear cloud over Hiroshima. After being captured, the two men were interrogated and taken to a secret POW camp called Ofuna. She begged Louie to take her, but he refused, so Cynthia went by herself. Still, he couldnât get Louie to engage. He was on one of two inflatable rafts with two other American soldiers. At least twenty men were already hiding there. He survived being lost at sea and years of horrific abuse as a prisoner of war (POW) in Japan.
Macâs spirits could not be lifted.
Surrender papers were signed by the Japanese, and on September 2, 1945, WWII ended. On at least two occasions, a submarine docked near the island, and more than 80 men came ashore and took turns abusing Louie and Phil. Chapter 21 Summary: Belief. Watanabe hid, and although the detectives stood inches from his hiding spot, he was not found. Bright had the second-best time behind a younger racer from Indiana named Don Lash.
Racers were passing out and being taken to the hospital. The 5,000-meter race had been dominated by the Finns in the last four Olympics. The biscuit was thrown through the window and shattered on the ground, leaving Louie to scramble for crumbs like a rodent. As a consolation, the pilots performed a 30-minute airshow for the cheering men below. Another surprise occurred in mid-January.
They were grateful for land, but they knew they were in enemy territory.
The kill date was only a week away. Although life at camp seemed unchanged, the POWs could tell something was off.
The only hope Louie had was to hit land, which wouldnât happen for some two thousand miles in the direction they were drifting. The story of Louie Zamperiniâs struggles and triumphs speaks to the strength of the human soul and serves as a lesson to never give up.
Private Kano took over, and POWs were once again allowed to write and receive letters.
Louie and his crew were given instructions to search a 200-mile circumference around the island of Palmyra, where Corpeningâs plane was believed to have gone down.
Louie was likely the first person to learn their whereabouts. The Bird ran through the camp in search of Louie, then charged at him with fists flying, pounding him until Louie was bleeding on the ground. A plane was flying back and forth above the island.
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