Special to The Mountain Advocate
Paul James “PJ” Woolum was a highly decorated World War II veteran from Artemus. Paul served in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Army Air Forces) from 1940 – 1945 in the 446th Bombardment Group as a radio operator and gunner on a B-24 Liberator. During the war, Paul was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully completing 36 bombing missions over continental Europe and North Africa. He also won several other medals, including the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Presidential Unit Citation Medal for participating in the 15th Air Force attack on Regensburg, Germany, which destroyed several Nazi aircraft factories. When Paul was stationed in England as part of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, his group was highly decorated for its heroic bombing missions and for its strategic role in leading the D-Day invasion, in which he took part in evacuating the wounded and dead American and German soldiers. His group was also honored to escort and guard General Charles De Gaulle’s plane upon his visit to Oran, Algeria. Paul was born and raised in Artemus and was a teacher at Knox Central High School for 32 years. He was married to Zelma Russ Woolum of Artemus, and he was father to Debbie Woolum Graham of Huntsville, Alabama, and to Judy Woolum Darling of Milford, Ohio. Paul passed away at age 82 in 2003.