Special Report: A Full Life

Back in November we introduced you to Pickford’s Warren Schwab.

Tonight, Corey Adkins tells you more of his amazing story about his very full life.

Schwab’s life was just beginning when he married his wife Ruth at 22.

He was getting ready to go to war as the captain of a brand new B-24. That also meant that he was responsible for the crew and equipment of the airplane. But before he could take his new plane across the Atlantic, Uncle Sam needed something from him.

“I had to sign for it in those days,” he said. “I don’t know how much it was, hundreds of thousands of dollars maybe, and it kinda shook me up. A little second lieutenant, probably making $320 a month. I thought what the hell, if I get shot down, do I have to pay for it?”

Flying his crew and plane across the Atlantic, Schwab’s first battle wasn’t the Germans but mother nature.

“All the sudden it was shaking and up-and-down and over and around, and I thought, ‘Oh my God,’” he said. “We are into the tropical front and it was pitch black.  You couldn’t see a thing you couldn’t see a thing.”

He also had no idea how low he was on fuel.

“I happen to look over and all four of my engines are turning off or shutting down, and yell back to him, I said “Flip the switch again , ASAP, we’re going down,’” Schwab said. “Thank God in all the sudden they started going again, that was another scary thing.”

That flight lasted 11 hours. They landed with only 10 minutes of gas left.

After Schwab and his crew arrived overseas, they began flying missions.

One mission Schwab remembers was a rescue.

His commander and crew were shot up bad over Corsica, Italy and had to land. Schwab had to pick them up, and because of the weight and space, he had to fly in with no gunners.

“We would have been easy easy picking for German fighters,” he said. “Going both ways, the Germans were right along the shoreline and we were flying right down the shore.”

Schwab made it to the runway only to find it wasn’t long enough for his B-24 bomber to land. But he came up with a plan.

“To land they had you  come in down the side of a mountain and then if you couldn’t stop you ran out into the Adriatic Sea,” he said. “I thought I would rather skip out into the water and hit the side of a mountain, so I turned around and come down the side of the mountain and touched down just as fast as I could and hit the brakes as soon as I could and I finally slowed, and we made it.”

After World War II, Schwab helped train the South Korean Air Force, earning him the third highest medal they award.

During the Vietnam War, Schwab was a top secret control officer for all the Air Force in the Far East.

He retired from the Air Force in 1967 and then worked 20 years for 3M.

Schwab lost his wife Ruth in 2007 and has five children, five grandkids and five great grandkids.

And every Friday he loves to make martinis, play piano with his great grandkids and enjoy his time with the people who love him.

Schwab turns 100 years old on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and would love to get a letter from you wishing him well and to help celebrate his life.

You can send cards to Warren at:
Warren Schwab
290 S. Pleasant
Pickford, MI 49774

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