To this day, Ralph Foulks wonders why. Why his life was spared when he came so close to death, and so many people around him were being killed.
Foulks, now 89 years old and living in Lakeland, was a gunner in World War II. Back then, he was just 19 years old. He was flying over the South China Sea when his plane was hit and it took a nose dive.
There wasn't enough time to bail out, so he and his pilot braced for the inevitable.
"We hit the water, and when we did, the water came crashing down on top at that point," he told FOX 13. "I was resolved to death. To tell you the truth, I was crying."
But logic and training took over.
"I grabbed the life raft, which was in a compartment," he said as he pointed above his head. "I pulled it out and put it in front of my face because they had told us if you can be conscious, you can always get out of a wreck."
For whatever reason, neither man was killed or even injured upon impact. Foulks tried to wave down a passing ship, but couldn't. It should have been no surprise. The ship was being attacked by kamikaze bombers.
Eventually, the ship was able to turn around and pick them up.
Now, pushing 90, Foulks speaks at a lot of schools and tries to spread his message.
"We should work for peace, not war," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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