In Honor of Veteran’s Day: A Jewish Experience in the U.S. Air Force

Bruce Matza

by Bruce Matza, JFS Board Member

Annie and I were married only six months when the Air Force reassigned us from Texas to Alaska where I served as the Executive Officer for Wildwood Air Force Station. We were the communication link between the Pentagon and Saigon.

Shortly after my arrival, I received a letter from a national Jewish organization offering to send a shipment of Passover supplies to the Jewish personnel on our base. Not knowing the number of Jewish men and women, I estimated having two dozen personnel who may enjoy receiving Passover supplies. I later found out that there were just four of us.

A few weeks before Passover, I walked into my office to find cartons filled with two dozen bottles of wine, boxes of matzos and jars of gefilte fish. Still not knowing who was Jewish on base, I ran an announcement in the weekly newsletter.

“Attention Jewish Personnel:Anyone wishing to celebrate the upcoming Passover holiday, please contact Captain Matza for a supply of wine,
matzos and gefilte fish.”

I could have successfully converted two dozen airmen to Judaism from the parade of troops in my office who inquired, “Hey Captain, I hear you’ve got some wine!”