For some American soldiers in World War II, the War was not simply a matter of foreign affairs, but intensely personal. That was certainly the case with Staff Sergeant Isadore S. Jachman of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division. His family had come from Germany to America when he was two. The Nazis murdered several of his relatives, including six uncles and aunts. Maybe that was part of his motivation when the chips were down for his unit seventy-one years ago. His Medal of Honor citation tells us what happened:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at Flamierge, Belgium, on 4 January 1945, when his company was pinned down by enemy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, 2 hostile tanks attacked the unit, inflicting heavy casualties. S/Sgt. Jachman, seeing the desperate plight of his comrades, left his place of cover and with total disregard for his own safety dashed across open ground through a hail of fire and seizing a bazooka from a fallen comrade advanced on the tanks, which concentrated their fire on him. Firing the weapon alone, he damaged one and forced both to retire. S/Sgt. Jachman’s heroic action, in which he suffered fatal wounds, disrupted the entire enemy attack, reflecting the highest credit upon himself and the parachute infantry.
After the War, the villagers of Flamierge, Belgium erected a statue to the memory of the GI who saved their village.