LAGO VISTA, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - 98-year-old Harvey Gann grew up in Del Valle and has lived a remarkable life. He flew bombing missions in Europe during World War II and was shot down and taken prisoner.
Gann wrote a book about his wartime experience and now lives in Lago Vista with his family.
In his home, Gann has a photo from 1944 which shows him with his B-24 bomber crew. Gann is the only one in the picture that survived their 14th mission over Northern Italy.
Years later an artist depicted the final moments of that mission as Gann bailed out of their bullet ridden plane.
"I didn't know if they were alive or not ecause they were straffing. ME-109's was on us like hornets," Gann recalls.
Some of the crew bailed out too and others didn't. Gann was the only one who got to the ground alive.
"For a long time I wondered why I was the only one out of the crew, and I finally gave up trying to figure that out and decided I just be happy to be here. But you think about it every once in a while," Gann says.
Something else Gann thinks about from time to time is his three escape attempts after he was taken prsioner. On one he'd cut through a barbed wire fence and hid from a patrolling guard under a walkway.
"He walked over me 2 or 3 times and I got up and outside and the four of us got through there like that...it just baffles me," Gann says with a laugh.
Seven days later Ganna was recaptured. After 15 months as a POW Gann made a fourth escape attempt and finally got away by hiding, hiking and bicycling his way through the ruins of war torn Eastern Europe.
"It was a pitiful sight really, desolation, destruction really...it makes you wonder about war, I'll tell ya," Gann remembers.
Gann hopped a train and made it to Odessa in the Ukraine and as the war ended he made it back home. For the next 38 years he was an Austin police officer.
Gann wrote about his experience in a book "Escape I Must" which told the story of his last mission, his lost comrades and why he lived and they didn't.
"It doesn't bother me anymore, I wonder sometimes certain things, but those things your never gonna figure out, you worry about them but that's useless too...i'd just be fat dumb and happy and go about my way."
The Defense Department says it knows the general location of Gann's plane which could still have the remains of some of the crew in it. The plane is believed to be in a lagoon of the Italian coast.
However the Pentagon's MIA recovery priority for now, officials say, is with Vietnam MIAs.