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James Rhoades dramatically shares survival story from Korean War - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

James Rhoades dramatically shares survival story from Korean War

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MARSHALL, Tx -

James Rhoades of Marshall, Texas says he knew as a young boy he'd love to fly.  He also says because of his love of Jesus that he's never scared.  So what happened when he faced a do or die situation while flying as a mechanic over Korea during the war? 

Enemy fire knocked out an engine on his crew's B-24 bomber.

"The captain told us, 'Run!' That's all we could do is run," Rhoades remembers. 

As the plane fell toward earth, Rhoades says he and all the crew bailed out.  His parachute snagged some trees.

"My parachute stopped like that," the animated Rhoades says, mimicking a sudden stop. "I looked around. I can't hardly see anything. It was dark there. But I heard shooting.

"I said uh oh. I gotta run. So I jumped out like a helicopter," he went, showing how he released himself from his parachute. "I go to jump. And I was only that far," he said, holding hands about a foot apart with a big laugh. "That's all it was. And I ran. I ran."

Rhoades says he ran to a river separating friend from foe.

"I went through the bushes and splashed right into the river," he continued.  "Somebody's trying to shoot from the river. And I jumped in."

Rhoades then described grabbing big breaths of air, and ducking underwater several times before reaching the other side of the river, where a man met him.   

"He grabbed ahold of me and says, 'Is you a friend or is you a foe?' Rhoades said, again with a big laugh. "And I look at him and says, 'I am a friend!' He says, 'You better be.' And he grabbed me, pulled me, jump out of the river."  

Rhoades was safe along with his entire crew.  He says the man who pulled him from the river then said, 'Are you hungry?' I said, 'Thank you, Lord. I'd like something to eat,'" Rhoades remembers, again with hearty laughter.

Rhoades left the Air Force after the Korean War. Then a few years later, he joined the Army where he served 17 years, also becoming a veteran of the Vietnam War by flying helicopters.

And as he reads one of his favorite Bible verses, favorite he'll fly again one day -- with his co-pilot.

"Flying with Jesus," Rhoades proclaims.  
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