Russian artillery started to shell Berlin at the time Don and the other recovered men in his escape party were moving through the US Army's elaborate and complex evacuation and hospitalization systems. Two weeks later, on 7 May 1945, with Hitler dead and Germany in ruins, the once vaunted Wehrmacht surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies in Reims, France  as tens of thousands of Allied airmen waited to be airlifted to medical clearing stations in Belgium and France.



Most airmen such as Richard W. Burt simply recalled, "waiting several days at an abandoned Luftwaffe airfield" after being informed on 8 May 1945 that the war was over. The next day several C-47s landed and Richard Burt was loaded with other sick airmen bound for a hospital in France. Years later Richard recalled, "We all gave a cheer as we took off and said farewell to a nightmare that would continue to haunt us for many years to come!" 

The airlift of recently liberated Allied airmen . . .

US Army soldiers returning from Europe, 1945