A World War II veteran of Ann Arbor is honored for his service


Sarah Caswell Angell members Denise Frost and Jane Griffith with World War II veteran Vernon Jensen. photo courtesy of Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter

November 11 marks an important day each year as the nation recognizes Veterans Day, a time to pay our respects and honor those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution understand this quite well and recently honored a local veteran for his service in World War II. The chapter presented a certificate of recognition to Vernon Jensen on October 12, 2022.

“Now a resident of Ann Arbor, the story of his three month journey to safety in 1944 has come to the attention of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution,” the Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter said. “His harrowing account of survival is remarkable, and worthy of recognition.”

According to the Daughters of the American Revolution, “Sgt. Vernon Jensen was the Radio Operator on a B-17 E bomber nicknamed “Sad Sack”. On March 18, 1944, it was heavily attacked by German machine gunfire, air to air rockets, and 20 mm cannons. The plane crashed in enemy territory in the area of Cerknica, Serbia. Nine of the ten crewmen were able to parachute from the burning plane. The bombardier and navigator were captured and taken prisoner. It took Jensen three months to walk 600 miles to safety. He and six others were eventually rescued thanks to the heroic efforts of partisans, villagers, doctors, and American and British forces. Vernon is the last living member of the flight crew.”

Jensen was born in Muskegon, on March 8, 1923. He enlisted as a 19-year-old.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a women’s service organization whose members can trace their lineage to an individual who contributed to securing American independence during the Revolutionary War. Today’s DAR is dynamic and diverse, with over 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters in the United States and abroad. DAR members annually provide millions of hours of volunteer service to their local communities across the country and world. DAR chapters participate in projects to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Over one million members have joined the
organization since its founding in 1890.

The Sun Times News connected with Jensen to ask him about this honor and recognition given to him by the Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

“I thought it was very nice,” he said. “It was kind of them to do that.”

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