Jay Karpin, 92, was a bombardier in the first wave of bombers that attacked Normandy in the famous D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The invasion marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe, but came at a staggering price: over 200,000 Allied troops were killed, and an equal number of Germans died. Karpin, who has lived in Grafton, Vermont since 1959, is among the most decorated living veterans. He flew 39 combat missions over Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. This year, he was named a Chevalier, or knight, of the French Legion of Honor, the highest award given to a non-citizen. Karpin did not speak about his WWII experiences for 50 years, until his wife and daughter pressed him for stories. He said that he now realizes he has suffered from PTSD. Karpin went on to work as an engineer and safety consultant for many Vermont companies, served on the Grafton selectboard for decades, and continues to work several days per week.
Karpin talks movingly about his experience during D-Day, the realities of war, his own PTSD, and why he thinks that if today’s politicians want to go to war, “they should carry a rifle.” (July 6, 2016 broadcast)
Jay Karpin, WWII veteran, recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross, Chevalier in French Legion of Honor