Keynote Speaker- Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow

Maj. Gen. Shachnow

Maj. Gen. Shachnow, during his time with the Green Berets.

We are pleased to announce that Major General Sidney Shachnow, USA (Ret.), will be joining us as our keynote speaker. The General is a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1950 and joined the US Army after high school, and later became the commanding officer of the Green Berets.

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1934, he was imprisoned as a child in the Kovno concentration camp, once a ghetto that held 40,000 Jews. When the camp was liberated by the Russians in 1944, only five percent survived. He had been smuggled out of the camp shortly before the children were marched to their deaths. After liberation, he was reunited with his mother and younger brother. They spent six years in the ruins of Europe before they were able to obtain visas and immigrate to the United States, settling down in Salem, Massachusetts.

In 1950, he immigrated to the United States. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army as a private in the Infantry and later attended Officer Candidate School as a sergeant first class. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in Infantry in 1960 and served as a rifle platoon leader, executive officer and company commander with the 50th Infantry, 4th Armored Division, in Europe. In 1962, he volunteered for Special Forces. His assignments during more than 34 years of commissioned service have been as a commander or staff officer with infantry, mechanized infantry, airmobile, airborne, and Special Forces units. He served as a Green Beret for 32 years.

MG Shachnow attended Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Mass., and graduated from the University of Nebraska, where he majored in business administration. He also has earned a Master of Science degree in public administration from Shippensburg State College, Shippensburg, Pa. He has received an honorary doctorate and is a graduate of the Harvard Executive Management Program. His military education includes the Infantry officer basic and advanced courses, the Special Forces Qualification Course, the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.

His past assignments have been as commander or staff officer with Infantry, Mechanized Infantry, Airmobile, Airborne and Special Forces units, including as Commanding General, U.S. Army-Berlin; Director, Washington Office, United States Special Operations Command, Airborne; Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Operations of Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg; and Chief of Staff, 1st Special Operations Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg.

MG Shachnow’s decorations and awards include two Distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, three Meritorious Service Medals, 12 Air Medals, three Army Commendation Medals with “V” Device, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Special Forces Tab and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. He also received the United States Special Operations Medal for outstanding contribution to special operations and was placed on the honor roll in the Infantry Officers” Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA.

In 1994, MG Shachnow retired after 40 years of active service. In 2004, he published the best seller Hope and Honor, which chronicles his dramatic upbringing in war-torn Lithuania through his many years of military service. In 2005, his book was awarded the prestigious Colby Award. MG Shachnow currently resides with his wife on a horse farm in North Carolina.

He is also on the Board of Advisers for The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

To read more about Gen. Shachnow’s experiences, click here to read an interview in The Jewish Post of New York in 2012.

Information from US Army Special Operations Command biography.