My father, Richard Lent, (1921-2015) was a navigator in the 449th, and was in combat from June 1944 – October 13, 1944. His aircraft went down over occupied Yugoslavia following a mission (his 50th) to Vienna and alternate targets. Among the crew aboard was flight surgeon Captain Leslie Caplan, author of “Death March Medic.”
My father bailed out, but landed badly, breaking bones in both legs. He was found by Yugoslav partisans under Tito’s, who managed over five days to bring him down from the area where he landed to the coast, thence to an island controlled by the Allies, and back to Italy. There his injuries were treated (broken bones repaired with metal sleeves, two in one leg, three in the other) and returned to the US in late 1944. There’s much more to the story.
Accompanying photo is of his aircrew in Idaho before heading east and the journey to Italy. Lt. Richard Lent is second from left in the back row.