Paul J. Wiedorfer

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ... ?

November 04, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Paul J. Wiedorfer, a seasoned World War II infantryman, was in traction and recuperating from wounds in an English hospital when he heard the news.

A fellow patient reading Stars and Stripes, asked him how he spelled his name and then said, "You know you got the Medal of Honor?"

"That was the first I heard of it. When I found out I was getting it, I didn't even know what the hell it was," said Wiedorfer, now 85, in an interview from his Parkville home the other day.

Wiedorfer, who was born and raised in Baltimore, is one of four Medal of Honor recipients thought to be residing in the state. He was presented the nation's highest decoration for his daring 150-yard charge across an open, snow-covered field during the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day, 1944.

In a matter of moments, he single-handedly knocked out two German machine-gun nests, killed several of the enemy, captured six prisoners and returned unscathed.

Wiedorfer was later severely wounded while crossing the Saar River in early 1945. "I was in hospitals for 3 1/2 years recovering from those wounds," said Wiedorfer, who retired in 1981 from BGE.

"When I first came out of the service, everyone knew who Wiedorfer was - governors, senators, and mayors. Now no one knows me, except probably William Donald Schaefer. Time marches on, I guess."

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Medal of Honor didn't exist because there were no wars and we could all live in peace? And that the only way to spell war was love? Wouldn't that be wonderful?" Wiedorfer said.

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