TNT stories connect 95-year-old and 101-year-old WWII veterans

Staff writerJanuary 30, 2014 

World War II veterans Carl Paul and Herb Tollefson recently connected at the Department of Veterans Affairs American Lake campus after being featured separately in The News Tribune.

STEVE TOLLEFSON — Courtesy of Tollefson family

By some coincidence, last month I wrote separate stories featuring a 95-year-old World War II veteran Herb Tollefson and 101-year-old World War II veteran Carl Paul.

Tollefson’s story highlighted his recent visit to Malta, where he repaired damaged American bombers for much of 1943. He and his family went looking for friends he made as a young mechanic. They made connections that connected him with the descendants of a Maltese police officer he was close to in the war.

Paul is a Spokane resident spending a couple months at the blind rehabilitation center at the VA Puget Sound’s American Lake campus. The VA threw him a party for his 101st birthday earlier this month. As a young paratrooper, he participated in the 82nd Airborne Division’s assaults on Sicily and Normandy.

Tollefson lives in Parkland and regularly reads The News Tribune. He read the story about Paul and decided he wanted to meet a “real hero” from the war.


His son helped arrange their meeting last week. They swapped stories at the American Lake campus. It turns out they were in Sicily at the same time in the summer of 1943.

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