Paul J. Andert was born on January 2, 1923, in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul’s mother, a French WWI war bride, was new to this country and spoke little English. His father was diagnosed with what was then called “shell shock” from the war. The Catholic Church helped the struggling mom with four young boys. Beginning at the age of four, Paul and his older brother were raised in St. Joseph Boys Home. Their mother and grandfather visited every week for two hours they were allowed.
Growing up Paul always wanted to be a soldier. At the age of 17, Paul lied about his age and joined the army on May 23, 1940.
Paul served as Platoon Sergeant in the 41st Armored Infantry, Company “B.” He served in Africa, Sicily and Europe participating in seven campaigns and three invasions. He was wounded twice. He received the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and other decorations including the French Legion of Honor in 2013.
In his book Unless You Have Been There, Paul shares his five years in the army, from training camp through Africa, Sicily, D-Day Invasion, Northern France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and the Battle of the Bulge. When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, Paul elected to go home on points. By June 13 he was back in St. Louis.
In 1998, Paul and a friend started the WWII Veterans of Tulsa group with the purpose of sharing their experiences with school children and others. He has since shared with thousands of youth and adults.
In 2013, Paul and three other WWII veterans were flown to Hollywood to meet as advisors to the directors and actors for the movie FURY.
Paul’s desire is to keep history alive through sharing his personal experiences in WWII. He particularly appreciates the opportunity to present his story and answer questions with students from elementary age through college. He has continued educating with local school visits and online conference calls with French and German students, even at the age of 97.