Former World War II POW speaks to Noon Lions

The Marshalltown Noon Lions met with President Ken Main presiding. Doris Langenbau, Ken Niehouse and Leonard Stubbs provided the music and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. Scott Lothe gave the invocation. Wally Paige, Tail Twister, entertained the Club with his stories.

Lion member Ken Niehouse introduced guest speaker, Al Packer. Packer’s Air Force career began in 1942 when “there was no doubt of what you were going to do.” He enlisted in the Army Air Corp – which later on became the Air Force – because he wanted to be a fighter pilot. He was trained as a high altitude pilot which meant he escorted the bombers. However, he first was trained on a Steerman so there was some intimidation when, as a first time fighter pilot, he was led to a plane with more technology than a Steerman and attached to it were 500 pound bombs.

On Packer’s 39th mission, his plane was hit by flack and he was forced to bail out over Hamburg, Germany. As a POW he was then taken by train to Frankfurt and interrogated by a German soldier who was formerly a waiter at the Maytag Hotel in Washington, D.C. He remained in Frankfurt until the POW’s were forced to march 100 miles to another camp, but managed to escape. He was eventually captured later and waited, hopefully, to be rescued by General Patton. Patton did not rescue him but his son-in-law did.

Packer also participated in the Korean conflict and in Viet Nam. He became a member of the Air Defense Command and ended up in the Pentagon, and after an illustrious career and service to his country, he retired in 1975.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the Lions Club and their mission is encouraged to call Carol Winters at 641-752-5460 for more information.