To thank Puett Willcox for his dedication to others and service to our country, Inogen will be donating a new Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrator to Mr. Willcox so that he can achieve the freedom he has fought for throughout his life. On May 10, 1944, Puett Willcox was on a flight that was shot down over Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the last of 1,000 planes sent on a bombing run over a railroad yard.
“After 999 planes had already come in front of us, they had us in their sites pretty good and tore us up,” he said. “I was snapping (my parachute) on when the plane blew up” Willcox recalls. Held as a POW in a Nazi concentration camp, Willcox witnessed horrors he will not speak of to this day and nearly died of starvation before being released as Germany surrendered the war.
Willcox continued his service into the Korean War flying 50 missions and in one event saved the life of his commanding General among other crew members. Willcox, who lived in Lompoc and spent 30 years working on the Vandenberg Air Force Base, also has a daughter now living in Santa Maria and son-in-law who is a Santa Barbara County Sheriff. Willcox’s daughter, Darlene, tried to help her dad Puett to get an Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrator for his oxygen needs, but was continually frustrated with all of the insurance complications.
After all the years of her father spending time in a German prison camp, she wanted to help improve her father’s quality of life by allowing him to leave the house and travel, instead of being constrained by heavy oxygen tanks. Inogen, Inc., a manufacturer and accredited homecare provider of oxygen therapy equipment and services, is proud to have the opportunity to assist Mr. Willcox improve his quality of life by restoring his independence. Made in the USA, the
Inogen One is a single solution for oxygen therapy needs at home, away, and for travel that eliminates the need to rely on standard oxygen tanks. Raymond Huggenberger Inogen CEO stated “Our core mission is to help oxygen therapy users restore their freedom and independence and there is no better way for us to accomplish this than to salute one of the members of our community that has given so much to our country”.
Willcox will reunite with his family at Inogen’s office to receive his Portable Oxygen Concentrator on July 20 at 326 Bollay Drive in Goleta at 2pm. He will share some of his incredible memories of being shot down as a gunner in a B-24 Bomber and surviving as a POW
in World War II in addition to how he believes the Inogen One will allow him to live the life he wishes to lead without the worry of running out of oxygen.