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JEAN HENRY TRAHIN

Major General Jean Henry Trahin

Jean Trahin was born September 12, 1920 in Paris, Arkansas. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on May 28, 1942 and completed the Basic Infantry Officers Course at Fort Benning, Georgia in September 1942. He graduated from the Parachute School at Fort Benning in 1943 and was awarded his silver parachute wings after completing the required five parachute jumps from a C47 troop carrier plane flying over Lawson Field.

General Trahin had participated in the Reserve Officers Training Program (ROTC) for four years at the University of Arkansas before requesting active duty with the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. While serving with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, he jumped with the famous toilet tissue jump stick during the last regimental jump. One of the paratrooper's wife, who planned to watch the jump at the edge of the drop zone, wanted to identify her husband as he floated down in his parachute, so the trooper told her he would drop a roll of toilet tissue after he jumped from the plane. Jean and the rest of the stick decided to confuse things so every man in the stick also dropped a roll of toilet tissue. Jean said that he "remembered his time at Camp Mackall for the mud, rain, and forced marches through real backwoods country." Once his platoon stopped at a small house in the woods where the lady of the house prepared fried eggs and biscuits for them. Jean paid her generously and later mailed the biggest dolls he could find to the woman's two daughters.

From Camp Mackall Jean and the 508th were transferred to Camp Shanks, New York, and after a few days of final processing there, they boarded the United States Army Transport (USAT) ship for their overseas voyage to Europe on December 27, 1943. There were uncomfortable days and nights of four hours sitting for sleep and four hours standing aboard ship until the Red Devils debarked at Belfast, Northern Ireland on January 8, 1944. They trained at Port Stewart until March 11, and then were ferried across to Scotland and traveled by train to Nottingham, England. They set up their base camp at Wollaton Park on the outskirts of Nottingham living in six-man tents. Sergeant George Fairman said that Lieutenant Trahin was voted their favorite lieutenant because he worked his men the hardest but always worked with them.

Jean parachuted into Normandy, France at 0215 hours on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) and he was with his 81mm Mortar Platoon for the assault on Baupte when a call came in for mortar fire on a German machine gun. His mortar crew quickly set up the mortar and delivered accurate fire with the first round eliminating the Kraut position. Lieutenant Trahin was told that he trained his men well but he replied, "That's not so. The sergeant had them trained before I came to the platoon."

Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945, he was transferred to the United States Army Reserve (USAR) and returned to the University of Arkansas to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in 1947. General Trahin served in many challenging positions in the USAR and the Army National Guard (ARNG) for about 30 years following his separation from active duty in 1945. During the early 1950's he was ordered to extended active duty at Fort Benning, Georgia to attend the Infantry Officers Advanced Course, and as an Infantry Tactics Instructor. In 1975 he became the Commanding General of the 122nd United States Army Reserve Command stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas. General Trahin passed away August 14, 1998 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

General Trahin's awards and decorations include the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, American Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, European-African Campaign Medal with four battle stars and invasion arrowhead, World War II Victory Medal, World War II Army of Occupation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 10-year device, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, French Croix de Guerre with palm, Belgian Fourragére, and the Militaire Willems Orde Degree of Knight (Orange Lanyard of the Royal Netherlands Army).
 


Major General Jean Henry Trahin, 77, [1920 - 1998]
, died at Shalimar, FL

(Section 7A, Grave  11)


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Grave Marker
order form completed in September 1998