Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Gilbert A. Pagel. Gilbert served during World War II.

Gilbert served as a Staff Sergeant, armorer, and tail gunner in 454th Bombardment Group from Jan. 4, 1943 to Sept. 29, 1945.

During the war, Gilbert and his unit were shot down in a B24. They were over Hungary when Gilbert was shot in the head and blown out of this seat. Luckily, Gilbert was the only one on the aircraft that wore a helmet. A cameraman onboard saw that Gilbert was still alive, put a parachute on him, and pushed him out of the plane, hoping Gilbert would wake up enough to pull the ripcord.

Gilbert landed just outside a small farming village and was taken to the town’s mayor. A local doctor was brought in and attended to Gilbert’s head as best he could. Because the Germans occupied the town, the mayor had to turn Gilbert over to them. Gilbert was sent to Stalag Luft #3 in Sagan, Germany, as a POW and was part of the march to Stalag VII A in Moosberg. He had been a POW for a little over a year when the 14th Armored Division liberated his camp on April 29, 1945

Gilbert received many awards for his service, including the European African Middle Eastern Service Ribbon with three bronze battle stars and a Purple Heart.

A dedicated wheat farmer in Colorado, Gilbert passed away in 2015 at 94 years old.

We honor for his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.

Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

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Published on Jan. 3, 2017

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