Louie Zamperini was a young man from Torrance, California, diligently training to reach his second Olympics. Focusing all his effort on reaching his goal, Louie was shocked to find his beloved dream be interrupted by the start of WWII. Louie was drafted into the Air Force, forced to put his dream on hold and serve his country.
Louie was made a bombardier on one of the worst planes during the war, the dreaded B-24. After several practice flights and missions, the men crashed in the ocean on a flight. The crewmen on the plane were stranded for 47 days until finally being captured by the Japanese. Then, taken to their outpost on the island Kwajalein. They spent many months surviving severe beatings, mosquitoes, rats, lethal chemicals, and dengue fever.
After being on the island, Louie was transferred to a POW camp. Here he met the Bird. The Bird was the leader of the POW camp and he was extremely harsh towards the captives. The Bird beat Louie almost every day, breaking his nose, leaving him bloody and bruised.
After two and a half years the war was finally over. Louie had survived the raft and the POW camps. Everyone was filled with joy and relief. All the prison guards either fled or hid in terror, fearing the prisoners would revolt.
Louie and the others were starving, they signaled at U.S. pilots for air drops. For awhile, they thought they would die of starvation. Finally, the pilots dropped large crates filled with foods and treats. Some drops even had newspapers so the troops knew what was going on. Rescue didn't come until two weeks after hearing that camps were being liberated.
On their way home the soldiers stopped at many different bases. Until finally landing on Hawaii, where Louie spent weeks in the hospital recovering. It wasn't till weeks after until he finally came home to see his family. Many other soldiers, and even Louie himself came back from camps, married, and relied heavily on alcohol