McCOOK, Nebraska -- Glen Edward Beneda was born in McCook, Nebraska on Jan. 6, 1924 and he went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. Glen and Elinor Egle were married on March 17,1946. For many, many years Glen always planned a surprise celebration, telling Elinor their anniversary was a date he would never forget. They welcomed twin sons Edward and Henry, expressing daily "what a blessing God gave us." Glen delighted in grandsons Brian, Joshua, Matthew and Mark, and he was further blessed with great grandchildren Zachary, Ian, Kailey, Daniel, Courtney, Shalom and Judah; daughters-in-law, Janet and Pamela; and granddaughters, Alona, Jennifer and Stephanie. His family was his greatest pride.
Glen's parents, Edward and Frances, preceded him in death. He is survived by his sister, Luanne; brother, Robert and wife, Karen; and many nephews and nieces, who mourn his passing.
He joined the service on his 18th birthday which was one month after Pearl Harbor. He became a cadet in May 1942, and graduated and received his wings in February 1943, at Luke Field, Arizona. He was sent to China one month later.
On May 6, 1944, he was shot down by a Japanese zero on his 81st mission led by Col. David "Tex" Hill. He was very fortunate to parachute into a rice paddy (learning 60 years later that his plane landed in a nearby lake). The farmers working in the field helped him get away from the Japanese infested area, risking their own lives in doing so. They took him to the new 4th (Chinese Communist) Army. They attended his wounds and hid him among the troops. He was protected for two months while they traveled approximately 500 miles (carrying him at times and providing him with a horse at others) to get him back to his squadron. Gen. Chenault (Commander, 14th Airforce) had written Glen's parents that he had not lost a pilot that far into enemy territory and doubted his survival.
The Chinese people have been very kind to Glen and his family, inviting them to China four times in the past 10 years. His rescurer, General LI Xiannian, became the President of China from 1983-88. His daughter, Madame LI Xiaolin invited Glen and his family to China on Oct. 10, 2010, for the opening of a presidential library and museum in honor of her father. She had much of Glen's memorbillia on display and he was very honored. The family was priviliged to meet some of the farmers from Hubei province, once again, who saved his life. They are proudly excavating his P-51 Fighter Plane (the farmers had sunk it by tying rocks to it in order to hide it from the enemy) and they plan to build a museum to house it. They are very proud to have saved an American pilot.
Glen is not only a hero and patriot to the Chinese, HE IS A HERO TO HIS FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.