Americana: Coming Home

D.B. Benson was an illiterate private when his sergeant told him that he would never make a good soldier and should get out of the Army Air Corps. Benson took him at his word and headed for the rugged Kiamichi Mountains of his native Oklahoma. That was in 1943, and he has survived ever since on wild game, berries and occasional handouts from relatives who knew where he was hiding.

Last week, after the Army agreed to give him a formal discharge, Benson, now 57, stuck his weatherbeaten, snaggle-toothed face out of the woods for the first time in 36 years. He...

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