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'I'm proud of what I did after the war': Texas WWII veteran honored on his 100th birthday

"The good Lord saved me over and over and over." Fiske Hanley says more than anything, he’s a survivor.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Tuesday was "Fiske Hanley Day" in Fort Worth.

At a birthday lunch for the Army Air Corps veteran, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price proclaimed the day, as Hanley turned 100 years old.

“I turn 100 today. I’m wondering why,” Hanley said. “The good Lord saved me over and over and over.”

Hanley says more than anything, he’s a survivor.

After graduating from Texas Tech, as an engineer, he began flying B-29s in 1944, but in March 1945, on his seventh mission in Japan, he was shot down.

'I’m wondering, 'What do I do?' so I talked to the man upstairs," Hanley said. "He pulled me through."

For six months, he was a special prisoner accused of war crimes and was tortured and starved.

“Out of 2,000, only 60 came home,” Hanley said. The rest died from their wounds, beaten to death, bled to death. My wounds were poison.” 

He was liberated Aug. 29, 1945, and after the war, he turned the post-traumatic stress disorder nightmares into a book. He wrote each day but the book wasn't published until recently.

“After about six weeks, I’m through with this. Stress is gone. Boom. Buried it,” Hanley said.

He went on to work for General Dynamics helping to build the Saturn V Rocket and the F-16.

“I’m proud of what I did after the war,” he said.

Reflecting on 100 years, Hanley says he recently asked a pastor why he’s a survivor.

“He said the good Lord has kept you alive to tell the world what bad people do,” Hanley said.

Credit: William Joy
Fiske Hanley celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday.

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