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August 4, 2022 8:15 am

Decades After Serving, Jewish Lieutenant Receives World War II War Medals

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Jewish men, women and children march with bundles down the main thoroughfare in Krakow, Poland, during the liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto by Nazi German soldiers, March 1943. Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Instytut Pamieci Narodowejvia via Wikimedia Commons. – Gerald Teldon, who nicknamed himself “Mr. Lucky,” flew more than 60 missions for the US Army during World War II.

What he never received, however, were his service medals.

That changed on July 29, when — surrounded by three generations of his family — the 97-year-old Teldon was decorated with six medals for his service, including an Air Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign with three bronze service stars, National Defense and a World War II Victory medal.

The ceremony was held at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life & Learning in San Antonio, Texas, where several of his grandchildren serve as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.

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“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to be present when my grandfather, who risked his life countless times to protect the world from tyranny, accepted the medals he earned in World War II,” said one of those grandchildren, Rabbi Levi Teldon, who got to pin one of the medals on his grandfather. “The whole family feels so grateful and humbled.”

Teldon, who is from Long Island, NY, joined the service in April 1944. He initially applied for the Navy Air Force, but it was over its “Jewish” quota, so he was denied a spot.

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