SkyWest crewmembers Captain Jai Patel, First Officer Brian Osias and flight attendants Janae Hilton and Brenda Garrett recently had the chance to welcome August Sterling, onboard an American Eagle flight from Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). August was a frogman for the U.S. Navy in 1951 and a Korean War Veteran. This flight was his first air flight and was taken to celebrate his 90th birthday with his family in Dallas.
During the Korean War, August was captured by the Korean Army while setting charges to a bridge they were about to destroy.
“When we came up from the water, we were shocked and surprised. It was something to behold. They shot in the water to scare us and so we couldn’t swim away. We couldn’t escape the bullets in the water, so we gave in.”
Out of the five frogmen, only two survived. They were kept in prison for over two and a half years.
“They would beat us 25 hours a day, and we don’t have 25 hours in a day,” said August. “They didn’t stop trying to get information out of us. Asking us for everything we knew and all we would reply with was our name, rank and serial number.”
Finally with the war over, President Dwight Eisenhower negotiated a prisoner exchange, releasing August Sterling and others. He had two broken legs, a broken arm and had to have a metal plate surgically implanted. After being released from the POW camp in Korea, he was sent back to Lake Charles to be treated at St. Patrick’s Hospital.
We are honored to have the chance to celebrate August Sterling on his 90th birthday and we are forever grateful for his service to our country.