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Paul Jankoviak
Branch: Army
Rank: Corporal (E-4)
War or Conflict: World War II, battle of the bulge
Years of Service: 2
Corporal Paul Jankoviak, U.S. Army, European Theater, WWII
Distinguished Service Medal
Purple Heart
Prisoner of War Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal
WWII Victory Medal
American Service Medal
Bronze Star
Special Wooden Purple Heart Medal

Serving with Company 1, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Division
Corporal Jankoviak served as a light machine gunner, jumping from planes carrying combat equipment over enemy territory. In combat, he was an assistant machine gun squad loader for three months. On December 23, 1944, during the battle of the bulge near Baslogne, Belgium, he was taken prisoner when Germans overran his company. Two-thirds of his company were lost. Held prisoner for 120 days, Corporal Jankoviak was severely mistreated by his captor, surviving forced labor, beatings, and near starvation. Because of the bitter cold and his weakened condition, he developed open pneumonia. On March 20, 1945, as the prisoners were being shifted to a more secure area, he escaped and rejoined the American troops in the area. Weighing only 135 pounds at the time of his escape, Corporal Jankoviak was treated at a hospital in France where doctors said he escaped death by only one day.

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