Julian Vincent Sollohub
LT COL in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Staff
Born 1916 in NY, Died 2007
Other residence(s): Springfield Center, NY; Tallahassee, FL; and numerous military postings in Europe, Japan, the Philippines, and seven US states
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: military officer
College education before the war: Cornell, West Point
College education after the war: Caltech
Julian Sollohub was born on April 6, 1916 in Scotia, NY, the oldest of three sons. His father, who had been born in Lithuania, was an auto mechanic; his mother died when he was only 11 years old. He grew up in Springfield Center, NY, a hamlet in central New York state. In fourth grade he met Katie McShane, the woman he would eventually marry.
Julian attended Cornell University, and then transferred to West Point where he graduated in 1937 with a commission as a 2LT. On January 2, 1938 he married Katie in Springfield Center, and they left on January 7 for a sea voyage to Fort McKinley in the Philippines where he was stationed. Katie's obituary says of those early years: "With no quarters for the young Lieutenant and his wife, they spent the first months of marriage in a tent in the Philippine jungle. Katie loved it."
In 1939 the Sollohubs returned stateside to Fort Belvoir, VA where Captain Sollohub was given command of the 84th Engineer Camouflage Battalion. He was then posted at Fort Totten, NY, and by 1942 Major Sollohub had become the commander of the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion (which would eventually form a part of the Ghost Army) at Fort Meade, MD. In November, at the age of 26, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, one of the youngest officers of that rank in the entire Army. A 1942 newspaper article says of him that: "Colonel Sollohub's work in camouflage has been widely praised and his commands have won frequent citation for their expert operations in that field. He has done considerable training of officers and men in the technique of camouflage."
Julian and Katie had also become the parents of two by this time: Charles and Elaine. (They would have two more children after the war: Julian and Kathleen.)
Julian did not stay with the 603rd, however. In January 1943 he was slated to take an executive position at Fort Belvoir, and he eventually became Division Engineer for the 32nd Division in the Pacific. From January to May in 1945 his combat engineers forged a 22-mile supply road through the Philippine jungle in what became known as the Battle of Villa Verde Trail. Julian was awarded a Silver Star and the Legion of Merit for his service.
He also earned a master's degree in Civil Engineering at Caltech in 1948.
In 1962 he was assigned to Vietnam (with a base in Thailand) as commanding officer of the 9th Logistical Command. His final assignment was with NASA, and he retired in 1967. That summer he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; the citation reads: "for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility, during the period from August 1960 to May 1967."
The citation for the medal goes on to say: "Colonel Sollohub consistently demonstrated a marked degree of sound judgment, initiative, and that unique ability to get to the heart of a problem and produce commendable results." It also called out his "profound technical competence" and "personal qualities of leadership and resourcefulness" in accomplishing "objectives of national and international significance."
After he retired from the Army he and Katie moved to Tallahassee, FL. There he worked as Director of the Division of Water Resources for the State of Florida's Board of Conservation and later with the State's Department of Transportation as a research engineer. Katie went back to school, got a Master's degree, and taught in a middle school for 20 years.
They were both members of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Tallahassee and "Solly" was also a low handicap golfer and a volunteer at tax season, helping people to prepare tax forms.
Julian died on May 19, 2007, and is buried at Springfield Cemetery in Springfield Center, NY.
1937 West Point yearbook photo (see Find a Grave record below)
1956 photo in uniform (see Cornell Alumni News below)
1925 New York state census
1938 wedding announcement in the Ithaca Journal (NY)
1941 article in the Buffalo News (NY) about his camouflage work
1942 article in the Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS) about his promotion and camouflage work (he is commander of 603rd at Fort Meade)
1945 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) about his war work in the Philippines
1945 article in the Detroit Evening Times (MI) about his receiving an award
1956 article in the Cornell Alumni News
1957 article in the Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus GA) about his work at Fort Benning
1960 article in the St. Lucie News Tribune (FL) with info about his new assignment and biographical detail
1962 article in the Miami Herald (FL); he is assigned to Vietnam
1967 article in the Evening Tribune (Cocoa, FL) about his retirement, civilian work, and receiving the Distinguished Service Medal
1967 Distinguished Service Medal citation
1972 article in the Tallahassee Democrat (FL) about his new civilian position
2000 interview with his wife in the Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
2007 VA death record
2007 obituary in the Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
2007 same obituary at legacy.com
2007 Find a Grave record
2017 wife's obituary