– 01 Sep 2004 Posted in: Featured Jews
Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Major General Sidney Shachnow is most known for his 32 years of service with the U.S. Army Special Forces which culminated in his position as commander of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command. General Shachnow served two tours in Vietnam and earned two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars with V for Valor.
General Shachnow’s story would be an impressive tale based on his military service alone, but there is another story that makes his accomlishments all the more amazing. He was born and raised in Lithuania until he was 17. At ten years old Shachnowski escaped the notorious Kovno concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Lithuania. Courage must run in his family, because both of his parents escaped the ghetto and were partisan fighters as well. His father hid him and his younger brother with a Christian family just before the ghetto was cleared and the inhabitants sent to extermination camps. Through some miracle, both his parents survived as did the future General and his brother. He made his way across Europe where he made a living by smuggling contraband. He was impressed by American soldiers during the war and remembered them after he and his family were eventually admitted to the U.S.
In 1950, he immigrated to the United States. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and later entered Officer Candidate School as a Sergeant First Class. In 1960, Gen. Shachnow was commissioned as an infantry officer.
His 40-year career has included service in the infantry, mechanized infantry, airmobile, airborne and of course special forces units. Gen. Shachnow’s most recent assignments include: Commanding General, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Airborne, Fort Bragg; Commanding General, United States Army Special Forces Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg; Commanding General, U.S. Army-Berlin; Director, Washington Office, United States Special Operations Command, Airborne; Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Operations of Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg; and Chief of Staff, 1st Special Operations Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg.
Gen. Shachnow is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and “V” device, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Air Medal with the numeral “12”, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters and “V” device, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
He has recently written an autobiography of his amazing experiences. I’ve provided a link to the book on Amazon.com for those interested.