Lessons in Escape and Evasion

In 1997, the book Power of Survival by Col. John T. Butterwick, was published by what was then Gateway Press, Inc. of Baltimore, MD.  Its note on the author says that during WWII he served as Counter-Intelligence and Prisoner of War Officer on the Intelligence Staff of Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, Commanding General of the Third Air Division.  His work in indoctrinating combat air crews in escape and evasion was credited with saving many lives.  The citation for the Bronze Star Medal said, “After interviewing many evaders who returned to the United Kingdom, he devised an instructional booklet ‘Lessons in Escape’ containing the personal stories of evaders which best illustrated lessons in evasion and escape.  This booklet, which is already in use throughout the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces, has proven to be of great value to both new and old combat crew members.”  The note on the author goes on to say that “the booklet’s forty pages of illustrated, secret instructions . . . carried the message, ‘Hundreds of others have succeeded, SO CAN YOU!'”

Part II of the book, “Reprint of Lessons in Escape,” appears below.  Our thanks to Larry Lock of the Kewanee Historical Society in helping us locate those whose permission was necessary to reproduce the material; to William Stewart, executor of the estate of John T. Butterwick for permission to reproduce it; and to Ann Hughes of Otter Bay Books (formerly Gateway Press, Inc.) for her encouragement to use the material on the AFEES website.

“Secure purse in inside pocket and aids box in zipper or button pocket.” — 2nd Lt Eugene V. Mulholland

“Delay pulling the rip cord.” — 1st Lt Thornton Bline

“Be patient.” — S/Sgt Glen H. Keirsey

“Protect helpers with obedience and utmost discretion.” — T/Sgt Kenneth H. Nice

“Wear chutes on missions.” — 1st Lt Meredith H. Rueff

Be patient.  Keep feet dry, carry razor and blades.  —  Lt Col Beirne Lay, Jr.

“Delay pulling the rip cord.” — 2nd Lt L.A. Stanford

“Sew two compasses in your flying clothes . . .” —  S/Sgt Joseph Shandor

“Adjust harness properly . . . Delay pulling the rip cord.”  —  S/Sgt William M. Quinn

“Carry high cut shoes . . .  On landing, get legs going and hide until search dies down . . . ”  —  S/Sgt Arnold O. Pederson

“In neutral countries, safeguard security  —  Contact proper authorities.”  —  2nd Lt Kenneth E. Bethe

“Never ask to be directed to a specific helper.”  —  2nd Lt Lawrence E. Grauerholz

“When approaching strangers, have identification ready.  Avoid saying ‘Yeah.'”  —  S/Sgt Hobart C. Trigg

“Have confidence.  Walk and act like a civilian . . . ”  —  S/Sgt Edward M. Daly

“Avoid German tricks!  Adopt small habits and customs of the country.”  —  2nd Lt John J. Carroll

“Rely completely and patiently on your helper. . .” —  1st Lt Louis R. Hernandez

“Escape!” —  T/Sgt Anthony R. Hutchinson

“Follow P/W instructions.”  —  2nd Lt Alfred R. Lea

“Use Benzadrine to overcome shock and fatigue.” —  S/Sgt Eric Kolc

“Don’t give away escape equipment for souvenirs . . . ”  —  2nd Lt Frank A. Tank, Jr.

“Learn how to destroy aircraft.”  —  S/Sgt Russel C. Gallo

“Carry your phrase card.”  —  S/Sgt Mike Olynik

“If confined, do setting-up exercises.”  —  2nd Lt John B. Pitner

“Check parachute harness.”  —  2nd Lt Arno E. Plischke

“Carry prints and negatives of up to date identification photographs.”  —  2nd Lt Joseph A. Birdwell

“To guide yourself, work the shrouds . . .”  —  2nd Lt Karl D. Miller

“Don’t wear harness loose . . . ”  —  S/Sgt Charles K. Bailey

“When hiding, freeze . . .  —  S/Sgt Herbert G. Ruud

“Dog tags examined . . .”  —  Sgt Elton R. Aldridge

“Reconnoiter house before approaching it . . .”  —  2nd Lt Edmund N. Bairstow

“Remember how to open escape hatch.”  —  1st Lt James G. Shilliday

“Learn foreign flags.”  —  2nd Lt Lauren M. Davis

“Memorize a few French phrases . . .”  —  S/Sgt Robert Finney

“Carry escape equipment and extra pair of wool socks.”  —  Sgt. John W. Runcel

“Hide parachute and Mae West . . .   Beware of houses with aerials.”  —  Sgt Herman F. Hermanson

“Use silk maps from purse.”  —  1st Lt Robert Z Grimes