Remembering the Fallen Heroes of the “Mighty Eighth” – WWII
With an introduction by Gary Sinise.
During the summer of 2007, I met Jean-Paul Favrais in France, while filming my second documentary, “Let Freedom Ring…Memories of France.”
As a researcher of WWII crashes of Eighth Air Force planes in Western France, one of the sites researched by Favrais was that of Lt. Oran T. O’Connor, a B-17 pilot, who crash-landed on a farm in a burning plane with only a wounded tail gunner aboard with him. The rest of the crew was ordered to bail out.
Sixty years later in 2004, the pilot’s daughter, Kathleen Stanclift, was contacted by Favrais while he was doing research work. Hosted by him, in 2007, she visited the farm where her father crash landed in 1943. Upon her return home, she met with me to tell of her experience.
Upon meeting Jean-Paul, I was impressed with the amazing work he was doing, which was motivated by the experience he had as a nine-year-old boy in witnessing a P-38 fighter plane crash near his home and seeing the pilot’s body. He was determined to find out the identity of the pilot who gave his life to bring liberty to his country and then to reach out to the pilot’s family.
In his retirement, he has devoted his time in the research of fallen airmen. Through the internet, he searches for family members of those heroes who gave their lives for the liberation of France. He then hosts families while visiting the crash sites of their loved ones…for closure.
This documentary follows Jean-Paul’s footsteps and reveals experiences told by hosted family members of perished airmen as well as hearing from living veterans of the “Mighty Eighth.”
Program Type: Documentary
Year Released: 2011
Running Time: 72 minutes