Dr. Paul Sears

Dr. Paul Sears

Birthdate: ~1924

Birthplace: Somerset, Kentucky

College: University of Kentucky

Drafted or Enlisted: Enlisted October 25, 1943

Area of Service: US Army Air Corps

During the war: Dr. Sears flew on a B-17 bomber as a tail gunner. He served for three years and spent half of that time as a prisoner of war in German camp Stalag 17. While a POW, Dr. Sears lost 65 pounds, experienced solitary confinement, and attributes his survival to the International Red Cross food parcels. He also participated in a 220-mile forced march deeper into Germany, passing Mauthausen concentration camp.  After being liberated in May of 1945, Dr. Sears returned to the United States in June. After the War, Dr. Sears took full advantage of the GI Bill and graduated from the University of Kentucky, a feat that he would have previously been unable to accomplish because of the cost of an education. Dr. Sears also highlighted the importance of the Bill in his life as a professor. Prior to the war he had no hope of a college education, but through the GI Bill he was able to drastically alter the course of his life and profession. While speaking with Dr. Sears, a celebrated chemist and professor at a major university, it is hard to imagine him as having any other course in life than that of an academic. Amazingly, this was all made possible due to the opportunities he received because of the GI Bill.