Oral History interview of Paul Ehmen. Interview conducted by Olejack, Andre at Ehmen Residence.
0:30 Discusses birth, parents, grandparents, and upbringing; 3:33 Reuniting with mother; 3:51 Experience with German schooling and education; 5:14 Culinary school; 5:45 Drafted into German Army working force; 6:31 Enters German Army as soldier; 7:49 Goes to Russia during World War II; 8:39 Member of elite tanker division; 10:30 Moves with tank unit to Romania. Speaks of tank battle; 11:25 Firing at enemy tanks; 12:02 Speaks of going on leave; 12:35 While on leave seeing what civilian population was going through; 13:05 Thoughts on Hitler; 13:55 Indoctrination of youth regarding Hitler; 14:31 Assassination attempt on Hitler; 14:53 Return from leave to his original elite unit; 16:09 Unit becomes Hitler's light brigade; 16:45 Participation in the Battle of the Bulge; 19:30 Experience of being attacked; 21:45 Wounded in battle; 25:16 Becoming a prisoner of war; 26:08 Occupied zone of Germany just after World War II; 27:10 Experiences as prisoner and discharge from the Germany Army; 30:11 Finding out about the death of his grandparents; 31:07 Finds job as baker with American Red Cross; 33:39 Works for Officers Club; 34:26 Reunites with his father; 35:20 Finds out he is a citizen of the United States; 36:15 Moves from Germany to New York, NY; 37:14 First job in the United States; 37:44 Gets married and drafted into United States Army on same day; 38:47 Enters United States Army; 39:42 Sees racism of the United States south; 40:30 Dealing with basic training as former Germany soldier; 41:33 Receives order for Korean War; 41:47 Is sent to Korea; 42:23 Works as combat engineer; 42:50 Thoughts on food served by Army; 44:00 Alterations made under Mr. Ehmen to meals; 44:26 Receives recognition and transfer as cook; 45:50 Work collecting mines; 47:39 Transfers to I Corps headquarters; 48:46 Receives additional recognition and promotion due to his cooking; 49:59 How food can positively affect soldier's moral; 50:15 Receives discharge and ops to reenlist; 50:33 Experience at Fort Know, Kentucky after reenlistment; 53:17 Promotion to mess-Sergeant; 53:25 Relocated with Division to Germany; 54:16 Transfer to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and again works as combat engineer; 54:46 Receives promotion and returns to Third Infantry Division to supervise; 58:02 Is sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey to works as instructor for Army cooks; 59:18 Receives orders and is sent to Vietnam assigned to artillery battalion; 1:00:14 Experience of being attacked by Vietcong; 1:01:03 Thoughts on aging and his job in the Army; 1:02:00 Is transferred to military command; 1:02:09 Compares General Westmoreland to General Abrams; 1:03:25 Sent to Fort Hood, Texas; 1:05:17 Promoted to Master Sergeant; 1:05:37 Receives orders to be sent to Thailand; 1:05:56 Assigned to Thailand hotel used for R&R for military pilots and receives co; 1:07:06 Is transferred to Special Forces in Thailand to run club system; 1:07:45 Physicality of being attacked to a Special Forces Unit; 1:08:05 Experiences the death of a friend during a training mission, starts thinking; 1:09:25 Receives orders to join 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas to run; 1:09:34 Speaks to the breakdown of discipline in the Army after the Vietnam War; 1:11:21 Talks of civilian revolt and protests against the Vietnam War; 1:12:45 Changes that occurred after conversion to all volunteer army; 1:13:05 Discusses retirement from the military and the reasons for it; 1:14:28 Modern day military and the brainwashing of entering privates; 1:15:50 Cross training for military personnel leaving the military; 1:17:10 Chooses to leave hotel job and collect military pension and unemployment; 1:18:47 Applies for job as food service manager and ends up working at this job for; 1:20:29 Decides to leave retirement and work for Brokerage Company that handled; 1:23:27 Talks of his children, grandchildren, and their current jobs; 1:26:40 Final thoughts.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Union City (N.J.)
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
World War II
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
Unit of Service
1st Combat Eng. Bat, 8th Army 154th Art. Bat., 3rd INF Div. 3rd Armor Div.
Master Sergeant; MSG
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Bronze Star Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Korean Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal for Korea; Presidential Commendation
US Army 3rd Infantry Div.
Awarded 28 medals: Bronze Star Medal; Army Commendation Medal (3 awards); Army Achievement Medal; Korean Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Presidential Commendation. Awarded 9 Battle Star (7 Vietnam, 2 Korean).
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Ehmen, Paul J.; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; Prisoners of War -- United States; United States. Army
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES; University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Paul, Ehmen J., "Ehmen, Paul J. interview" (2012). Veterans Oral Histories. 85.