- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There are very few of us World War II veterans left. There were, and still are, many unheralded heroes, unknown as yet who sacrificed their lives and made lasting contributions for our country.

In my particular case, I didn’t realize until June 2000 that my contributions to the U.S. armed forces were recognized and remembered. I could not feel more proud and delighted if I had been given the Medal of Honor.

I am 88 years old and am a Holocaust survivor. My parents and other members of my family were murdered by the Nazis. The concentration camp survivors were liberated by the U.S. armed forces, and in gratitude, I decided to join the Army and get even with the Nazis my way. I volunteered for military service, but since I wasn’t a citizen, I was drafted instead.

For 33 years, I gave of myself, body and soul, to the armed forces. I was in the Quartermaster Corps, Amphibian Combat Engineers, Army Airways Communications System. After the military service, I continued with North American Air Defense Command (Canadian and American forces combined), Flight Safety Command, Research and Development Command, Air Force Systems Command, Air Force inspector general and oceanographer of the Navy.

I was officially cited for saving many airmen’s lives, building and designing an Air Force exhibition to show the French people what type of armor and equipment the U.S. Air Force used to win the war. I was assigned to lead the command convoy from Omaha Beach to Le Mans in Paris, since I was the only person who had my personal maps of France. It was a hazardous trip since we had to go through many small villages where the Nazis were still hiding.

Along with flowers, hidden grenades were thrown at us along with the occasional shot taken. When we got to Paris, some of the Nazi soldiers were being rounded up by the Forces Francaises de I’Iterieur (FFI). I am recipient of a bronze medal.

The highlight of my service for the armed forces was when I was decorated with medallions in an engraved wooden case with my name and the name of Gen. Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart, a four-star general. Each medallion was from four- and three-star generals, including one of the Canadian forces.

As I was the presentation adviser to the general staff, I had the honor to meet many military and civilian personalities.

My legacy to the armed forces is the coat of arms I designed, which appeared on the airplanes, jackets, stationery, uniforms, etc., for years to come.

PAUL S. JAFFE

Silver Spring

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