Paul Chmar, Army colonel

January 30

Paul Chmar, a highly decorated Army colonel who retired in 1973 after 30 years of military service, died Dec. 27 at his home in Highlands, N.C. He was 91.

The cause was atherosclerosis, his son Mark Chmar said.

During World War II, Col. Chmar was a platoon leader in the Army’s 80th Infantry Division. On March 14, 1945, he was seriously wounded while leading an advance on Weiskirchen, Germany. He single-handedly attacked an enemy machine gun that fired on his battalion, and he suffered two gunshot wounds, including a shot to his lung, according to news accounts.

Despite his injuries and intense enemy gunfire, he lead the advance. It was two days before reinforcements arrived and he could be evacuated.

For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor for wartime heroism. His other military decorations included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, and four awards of the Purple Heart.

After World War II, he had command and staff assignments in Poland, South Korea and Germany. He served as deputy commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War and was an operations officer for the Military District of Washington during the 1968 riots. His final active-duty assignment was at Fort Bliss in El Paso.

After his military retirement, he moved from Fairfax County to Highlands, where he worked as a real estate agent until the late 2000s.

Paul Chmar was born in Baltimore and grew up in Rockville, Md. He was a 1940 graduate of Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville and received a bachelor’s degree in 1943 from the University of Maryland, where he had enrolled in the university’s ROTC program.

His wife of 49 years, Jan Chambers Chmar, died in 2000. Survivors include three sons, retired Air Force Col. Mark Chmar of Ashburn, Va., W. Tod Chmar of Atlanta and retired Army Col. Andrew Chmar of Cold Spring, N.Y.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

— Megan McDonough

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