Louis Zamperini was born in Olean, New York on January 26, 1917. When Louie was just two years old, his family moved to Torrance, California. He spent his childhood stealing, smoking, drinking, and misbehaving.
As Louie was growing up, he learned of eugenics. He learned that people who made trouble in society were killed. This scared him and he started to play sports to make up for what he had done in his childhood. He started to run and qualified as a runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
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Due to the start of World War II, the 1940 Olympics were canceled and Louie's dreams were crushed. To help out in the war, Louie became an American bombardier. On one flight on the Green Hornet, Louie and his crew of 11 men went crashing into the Pacific Ocean. Louie; the pilot,Phil; and the tail gunner, Mac were the survivors. They faced sharks for 47 days and Mac died.
Phil and Louie drifted from island to island. They are taken to Ofuna where they are soon separated. Louie and Phil find their own separate treacheries in different camps. Louie went to Omori and Naoestu where he faced "The Bird".
Mutsuhiro Watanabe ("The Bird") was a severe Japanese corporal. He attacked Louie many times for countless reasons. The Bird would "dedicate himself to shattering" Louie.
The war ended shortly after America dropped two atomic bombs on major Japanese cities. Louie could go home and live the rest of his life but the damage the Bird had done to Louie-stayed with him.