North Texas POW dedicated life to veterans, inspired movie

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on June 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM

MABANK - Even in his final days, Herman Molen was working to make the lives of his fellow veterans better.

The 88-year-old Mabank resident died Thursday at his home.

He spent 20 years in the United States Air Force, and 19 months in a German prison camp during World War II.

"I spent a lot of time in solitary confinement, bread and water, " Molen said in a 2011 interview.

Molen was captured after the aircraft he was in was shot down in 1943. During his time in confinement, he attempted to escape three times, but each time he was recaptured. His experiences were made into a Hollywood movie called "Stalag 17," named after the notorious prison camp where he was held.

"It's a miracle they didn't just shoot him," said his nephew, Doug Glasscoe. "He was kind of like a cat with nine lives."

Glasscoe broke down as he shared stories about his uncle. He called him a "superhero" for cheating death time after time, and for his loyalty to his country.

"I believe he bled red, white and blue," Glasscoe said.

Over the last three decades, Molen served as the national commander for the Ex-Prisoners of War. He was instrumental in getting federal legislation approved to help veterans and their families.

A rich life of service and patriotism that won't be soon forgotten.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

Twitter: @craigcivale

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