WWII veteran: 'I’m not a hero.' National organization that honors veterans disagrees.
Alan Francom as an Army Air Corpsman next to one of his planes, Mighty Mouse, during World War II. Francom was recognized through the Honor Flight Network this month in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Elaine Janeway
“I’m not a hero.”
Those were the first words of a World War II veteran when asked about being honored on a national level.
And not just any World War II veteran – Francom might have just saved a plane of men.
Still, part of his response when asked what it means?
“I don’t know if it’s worth a story or not. … There are no big stories I can tell. I could fib a lot, but I’m not going to.”
There is this story: In a plane during wartime that seemed doomed, Francom said that he heard a voice say “do not bail out!” when the pilot, at high altitude, gave opposite directions. But the engine took hold. The plane made it to an outpost for gas.
“But we just about crashed,” Francom said. “Fortunately, someone was looking after us.”
Francom said that he’s not a hero because he didn’t fight.
It meant nothing to the Utah Honor Flight Board, who surprised Francom in June with a telegraph that the Murray Village III resident was selected to visit the nation’s capital. The Honor Flight Network, which encompasses the board, arranges for senior veterans in particular to visit memorials of the wars and places where they fought.
An estimated 640 World War II veterans die each day.
Francom’s plane experience happened after he was unexpectedly sent to Alaska for the war. He said that he doesn’t know why. Before the call, he was scheduled for the Pacific, where brutal battles like those at Okinawa were found.
Francom was sent to Virginia after basic training, which started just one year after he volunteered for the Army Air Corp at 17 years old.