Milton A. ("Mickey") Waldor of New Jersey exemplified the Jewish hero in the American junior officer corps. First Lieutenant Waldor was bombardier in the Tenth Air Force in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operation in World War II.
Waldor flew on 68 arduous missions bombing the Japanese installations in captured Burma. Many times his B-24 was the target for enemy fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns. Flying the China-Burma- India hump was always an extremely dangerous mission. For his bravery in action, Waldor was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Nationalist China Award and other American medals. On his many missions he met and became friendly with General Claire Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers, who was later to become the commander of the U.S. Air Force in China. When Waldor left the Air Force to return to civilian life, he was a captain. He became a successful lawyer and he got involved in politics and in veterans organizations. He was elected national commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA in 1965. He served as a senator in the New Jersey Senate and wrote a book which exposed the John Birch Society called Peddlers of Fear. His younger brother, Jerome N. Waldor, is a retired Major General of the U.S. Air Force and he is a leader in the United Jewish Federation of MetroWest.
In the Pacific, the United States Marines were fighting to regain the major islands that the Japanese had captured in the early stages of the war. Major Irving Schecter of New York, with his assault unit, landed on the beach in Tinian, one of the Marianas islands. They were met with gunfire from the enemy as they established a beachhead to protect the left flank of the invasion force.
After a quiet night, Major Schecter and his Marines were awakened by a barrage of Japanese gunfire and hand grenades. His men quickly responded with their own gunfire to keep the overwhelming force of Japanese from breaking through the lines. The skirmish lasted for many hours, and Major Schecter's fighting Marines were diminishing in number as they suffered many casualties. Finally a relief force came to their rescue and pushed the Japanese back to their own lines.
Major Schecter found himself once again fighting the enemy when the Marines invaded Saipan. He led his rifle company into battle with the Japanese, exposing himself so that he could better guide his men with their rifle fire. His unit suffered many casualties and he directed the evacuation of the wounded until they were relieved by another Marine Corps unit.
Major Schecter was recognized for his bravery when he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation.
Milton Waldor and Irving Schecter were the prototypes of the many Jewish heroes in the junior officer corps in World War It.
This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.
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