Marina >> James D. Spitz, a highly regarded and decorated veteran on the Monterey Peninsula, died Sunday at the age of 86. His family said he will be remembered as “a great old soldier.”
Though Mr. Spitz was a recipient of the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, and member and past national commander of the Legion of Valor, it was not something that he often talked about according to family members.
Instead the veteran’s outgoing personality would endear him to many, and his regard for soldiers and veterans would be an inspiration to others who donned the uniform.
The Legion of Valor is open only to recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.
“He was really proud of being in the service and of being a career military man,” said Tom Spitz, his son. “He loved our country.”
Born on July 19, 1931 in Washington, Mr. Spitz was the youngest of five children.
According to his daughter-in-law, Jill Jorden Spitz, who wrote a piece included in a recent book, in 1949, when he was 17-years-old, Mr. Spitz lied about his age to enlist in the Army in Hutchinson, Kansas.
He completed basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, was first stationed at Fort Breckenridge, Kentucky, and chose jump school because it paid a $50-a-month premium over the base pay of $59 per month.
A broken toe kept him from finishing jump school so he was sent to serve as a guard at Sagamo War Criminal…
click here to read more.