My wife’s grandfather was a hero of mine. He passed away recently with very little fanfare at age 96, but this extraordinary man was one of the first paratroopers in the Army. After breaking his leg on a training jump he was assigned to a conventional Infantry unit after he healed. He served in North Africa, fought with Patton across Sicily, and slogged up the Italian peninsula through places like Rome and Monte Cassino. Also, he enlisted in 1940 as a Private and left the Army in 1945 as a Sergeant Major.
Ever resourceful and a product of the Great Depression, there was very little this man could not do. On the troop ship coming back from the war, he took a stock German P38, stripped it down, and silver-plated it using a silver dollar and a jeep battery. He sold the shiny pistol to an Army doctor on board who had never been anywhere close to combat for $400. That’s more than $5,000 today. The hapless physician assumed that Goering himself must have been the only one to wield a silver-plated P38.