Mr. Paul Hartman is a 94-year-old World War II Navy Veteran who served from 1944 to 1946. He enlisted after his 18th birthday in January of 1944 so that he might have a chance to pick a military career he would prefer. His high school allowed him to receive his diploma if he stayed in school until February and after that, he reported to Naval Basic Training and became an Electrician’s Mate.
Paul’s active duty history was action-packed and filled with travel. An unforgettable event he recalled was when he was assigned to a flotilla and headed for the Eniwetok Islands located in the western Pacific Ocean. After the brutal Eniwetok Battle had ended, Paul said, “The island of Eniwetok was so bombed that there was not a tree to be seen.” The fleet of ships required general quarters alarms, or in other words “all hands on deck,” to watch for and prevent an underwater attack.
When the war ended, he and his Navy crew were still in Okinawa and ordered to join a convoy in Japan. Although the global war may have ended, Paul’s crew were in for another awakening. A destructive typhoon hit on their way to Japan. Paul described riding through the brutality of that storm. “I was watching the LST near our ship riding up and over large waves and coming down on top of the next wave,” he said. “I saw more than half of the flat bottom of that ship.”
After Paul’s action-packed service in the Navy, he returned home to Pennsylvania. He was nervous about seeing his family and friends, but as he became acclimated to civilian life once again, he enjoyed spending time with his loved ones. Jobs were scarce after the war, and factories were not yet open. Paul and his brother, Bruce, who had also served in the Navy, decided to sign up for the 52/20 Club until the economy improved.
Since Paul was always a handyman, while searching for work, he also started a side-business building lamps. He aspired to start a full-time business selling these lamps, but soon realized money is needed to start a business, and so it became more of a hobby.
Since the idea of owning his own business did not work out, Paul helped his father build a cottage for the family in Lake Harmony, PA. By the end of that summer, Paul’s family had a newly built cottage to call home. Soon after, Paul found work at the local Alcoa factory and his brother Bruce at Atlas Powder Company.
Paul wrote the book “The Life of An Ordinary Man Led by an Extraordinary God.” In this novel, he discusses his childhood and family history, life in the Navy, returning to civilian life after the war, and his passion for spreading God’s word.
Paul is Purple Heart Homes’ 600th Veteran served. PHH is providing Paul with handicap accessible ramps for the front and back of his house, a new deck, new rear door, electrical work inside the home, and new siding for the entire home. Paul acknowledged how thankful he is for the help, especially since he can’t fix things himself like he used to.
Paul’s story is gripping, suspenseful, and gives us a remarkable glimpse into the past. We thank Paul for sharing his life experiences and allowing us to serve him by addressing his housing needs. We are thrilled to have Paul as part of the Purple Heart Homes family!