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Paul R. Jankoviak
War: World War II
Branch: U.S. Army Paratroopers
Unit: 31st Division, 101 Airborne
Highest Rank: CPL
Birth Year: 1920
Decorations: Purple Heart; Victory Medal; American Service Medal; POW Medal; Bronze Star; European Theater Service Medal


Paul Jankoviak received deferments because he held an essential job. He felt guilty about this and forced the Draft Board to take him. Soon after he entered he volunteered for the paratroopers, and was shipped to Europe.

Paul's Unit jumped into the Market Basket Battle. They jumped from 500 feet. More than 500 planes participated. Paul witnessed gliders crashing with men still inside.

After 85 days of continuous battles, his Unit was transferred to the Battle of the Bulge. They were warned that the Germans were not taking prisoners. Paul was captured. He was put on a truck that had American markings. German planes shot up the truck even though they were being transported as prisoners.

Paul received frequent beatings from the Germans. When he was finally released, the doctor told him he was one or two days from dying. He spent 6 months in hospitals.

After his discharge, Paul took a job as a Tool and Die Maker. He is proudest of the fact that he built his own house and didn't borrow any money for it. Now retired, he lives in Lansing, Michigan. He has 6 children and 13 grandchildren.