107th Mechanized Cavalry Trooper of the Month
My Trooper of the Month is Paul Shoaf, F Company, Headquarters Platoon. I want to thank his daughter Kim who provided me with a few more pictures and a written history of her father. Thank you Kim.
Paul Shoaf – September 26, 1924 – June 3, 2021
WWII Veteran, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, car and truck repair shop owner, pilot, and car enthusiast Paul Shoaf, at the young age of 17, entered the Army in Columbus, Ohio in June 1943. He was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas for basic training and after that to motor school then to Sebastopol, California where he became part of the 107th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. He worked in the motor pool and was sent back to Ft. Riley for further training as a mechanic for light tanks. He returned to California and was given a rating of T5 and was the driver for the maintenance tank and other vehicles.
Paul stated that the 107th had 18 tanks and two Jeeps, a half-track and a 6×6 truck. There were just three mechanics to services all these vehicles. He really liked working the vehicles and especially enjoyed being able to drive all different types of them. When he returned from the war after it was over, he would continue his love of fixing vehicles and driving many different types (he kept a journal of every single vehicle he ever owned) through the business he ran called High Frank Alignment.
After moving to a few more posts, he embarked from Camp Shawks in New York to La Harve, France. The first of many nights was spent in a tent with no heat in a potato field. As mechanics they were taken from Camp Lucky Strike to La Harve to process vehicles as they were unloaded and then deliver to a location out of St. Nazaire that was being held by the German Army. From there, the vehicles were loaded onto a flatbed train to go to their destination.
Paul also drove tanks with his troop during active warfare on the enemy line in an effort to draw fire. Many nights were spent in foxholes. Being the age of 17 when he enlisted, the things he witnessed and the actions he and his troop did to fight for our freedom left a lasting impression on him, both in good and not-so-good ways.
After the war, Paul lived a full life and always sought out new things to learn and do and to live life to its fullest. In addition to being the owner of High Frank, he became a pilot of small planes (including an aerobatic plane to sky write and do aerobatic maneuvers), had a condo in Clearwater Beach, FL – his favorite place on earth, and enjoyed his grandchildren beyond measure. He lived to be 96 years old – living independently in his own house up until the last week of his life.
I’d like to add that my dad never opened up about his time in the war until the mid-1970s. We were on vacation at our condo in Clearwater FL and there was another couple staying there from Germany. They got to talking one night and discovered that they both had fought against each other at one point. Both of them had tears in their eyes and were moved so much by the moment. After that, my dad started telling us all of his war stories.