WWII vet Bug Paschal honored for his service – Part 2

By Roxanne Thompson
Staff Writer
Part 2
In the previous issue, Mexia’s Jennings Bryan “Bug” Paschal Jr. talked about his time in the Army during World War II. He was captured by the German Nazis in February 1945 and spent six weeks as a POW, nearly starving to death and being used to do utility work for the German Army. Then, as the Americans pushed back, the POWs woke up one morning to find their guards had disappeared.

When the POWs realized their guards were gone and they were free, they ran outside, only to see American tanks approaching the town, apparently ready to fight.
“The tanks were coming in for battle; they had their lids down, whatever you call them,” Bug said.
“When they saw who we were – of course, we were waving and hollering – they raised their lids and saw us and started giving us everything they had,” Bug said, his voice breaking, his cheeks flushed and his eyes filled with tears even now, 72 years after the incident.
After the POWs were liberated, they were taken to a field hospital, where their clothes were burned, and they were treated for lice and showered. They stayed in that field hospital for three days, then were flown to a hospital in Paris, where Bug stayed for 36 days.
Although the war against Japan continued until Sept. 2, 1945, the war in Europe ended May 8 of that year. That date was called VE-Day, or Victory in Europe Day, which was the day Germany surrendered. News spread swiftly to Bug’s hospital.
“They were just joying and running and hollering and everything else,” Bug said. “Some of us weren’t really that bad off: stomach trouble or something like that. We were all glad. One of the doctors come through right after that and asked me if I’d seen any of Paris.
“I told him, ‘No, I haven’t been out.’
“He said, ‘Well, go into town if you want to; I’m going to send you home.”
From Paris, Bug went back through Lucky Strike, then onto a boat for the United States. As a former prisoner of war, he was given 60 days furlough. He remembers getting home about July 4 of 1945 and was finally discharged in April 1946.
Back in Corsicana, Bug and his brother, Tom, opened a cafe together and ran it for several years; then operated a gas station for several years.
He met his future wife, Joan (pronounced Jo-ann), and they married in 1949 and had two sons, Joe and Ken.
Bug spent the rest of his life working: 23 years at Western Auto, then another 16 at Brown Oil and Gas after moving to Mexia in 1978.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday's edition of The Mexia News. Subscribe online or call 254-562-2868.