There are still a few people alive who lived through the harsh history of World War Two. KGUN9s Craig Smith talked to a man who flew on dangerous bombing runs over Germany, survived German prison camps and living an active life at the age of 100.

When I was captured I weighed 162 pounds. When I was liberated. I weighed 97, and all of us and all of us were in the same shape.

Walter Ram was 19 years old serving on a B-17, flying straight towards people dedicated to shooting him down. On his 6th mission, they did.

Walter was towards the middle of the plane when an explosion knocked him down, knocked him out and tore off his oxygen mask. Even when he came to, without oxygen he really couldnt think very clearly so the man who was in the ball turret came out of the turret, hauled him out, dragged him all the way back to this aft hatch and shoved him out.

Ram says, I dont know how I opened the parachute. I know what I did because you had to pull it but I cannot tell you the action that I took to pull the cord. But maybe survival was a great thing.

He woke up burned and bandaged in a German hospital looking into the eyes of a Gerrman nurse who was the only German who showed him any kindness for the next 19 months. From there he endured an interrogation with a gun to his head, then prison camps where the only food was bread made with sawdust, and thin soup that came with a little something extra.

They were loaded with maggots. So wed eat that. Wed eat the maggots and so wed eat the maggots and everything else like it. We looked at the maggots and say that’s protein. It’s the only protein we had actually.

He says the prisoners of war were on a forced march to another camp when they saw other people more starved and abusedJewish prisoners on their own forced march. He was touched by one man who fell. His eyes seemed to be pleading for help. Ram was kicked to the ground when he tried to bring the man some water.

I got up again to go get him water. By that time, they put a bullet in the guys head.

He says, One morning, a Sunday morning about 6:30 in the morning, here comes a whole bunch of trucks, military trucks from General Pattons Third Army.

That meant liberation, but a long recovery from long months of abuse. Walter Ram flew with the 94th Bomb Group but he found a home at the memorial museum for the 390th, on the grounds of the Pima Air and Space Museum, sharing his story of survival and appreciation for the country he fought for, and nearly died for.