Learn more about George M. Papa

George M. Papa (1943 -) is the oldest child of George Papa and Beatrice Rogers.  He was born in Chicago, while his father was in the Navy during WWII.  Shortly after his birth, his mother took him back to her home town of Snowflake, Arizona to live with his grandparents and to wait out the war and the return of his father.

After the war, four more brothers were added to the family and they lived at or near Snowflake until George graduated from high school.  George’s father worked generally in heavy construction and his mother taught school.

Rural Snowflake was a good place to grow up.  After chores, such as milking the cow and hauling wood there were hills to climb plus creeks, canyons and washes to explore, lots of ball games to participate in, and of course, many school events.

The old Flake Mansion in Snow-Flake.  Reminiscent of the dedication required by the first pioneers to accept the call from LDS leaders in Salt Lake City to settle that desolate wilderness beginning in the year 1878.
Flake Mansion
This original Snowflake Academy building is still a part of the modern high school campus.  When first constructed, scores of students from all over northern  Arizona boarded in Snowflake to attend this only opportunity for a higher education.  It burned and was rebuilt long before Arizona became a state. When George graduated in 1961, students from six other towns within thirty miles were still bused in to this high school that had an enrollment of about 400.

Snowflake Academy
Looming large at the north end of town was a massive thirty-mile long canyon that attracted large numbers of people to escape, fish, hunt, pick grapes, swim and even ice skate in the winter.

Snowflake Canyon
A key feature of Snowflake was the Mormon Church, or more properly, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The majority of the townsfolk were active in the LDS Church, including the Papa family.  George’s father was a convert with a Catholic-Croatian background.  George’s mother had graduated from Brigham Young University and was descended from five generations of devoted pioneers.  Young George was always keen to this faith.  After graduating from high school, he served a two and a half year mission to Argentina, then he enlisted in the Army for four years during the height of the Vietnam War.
Across the street from the Papa home in Snowflake was this large LDS chapel built by the first pioneers.  In George’s youth, this was the only church in town.  Today there are several other denominations and three additional LDS chapels that serve nine congregations.

Snowflake Chapel
When George was seven years old his parents purchased his great-grandfather’s two-story home in downtown Snowflake.  This corner lot had a big yard with lots of trees and a barn that kept many horses for hauling freight from the railhead in Holbrook to the outlying areas.  In the early 1990’s this house burned down, and it was discovered that the house had been built around a one-room log cabin that was the original dwelling. This cabin became the front room for the new house that was built around it.  The cabin still stands today.
Site of the Papa home in Snowflake
Built in 2002, this temple is 108 in the world as to its order of being an operating LDS Temple.     \
Snowflake Temple
Upon volunteering for military duty, George applied for and was accepted into the Army Security Agency (ASA).  After receiving his top secret security clearance, he began training at Fort Devons, Massachusetts to be proficient at copying and deciphering all manner of radio traffic gleaned from long-range rhombic antennas trained towards Russia.  Just before graduation, George flew home to marry his sweetheart in the Mesa, Arizona Temple.

George’s elite MOS was exciting to him and he quickly landed a coveted station to Dresden, Germany, which was as close as possible to having a plumb civilian position. It included ample free time to tour Europe with his new bride. At this point, George was invited by his superiors to apply for Officer Candidate School (OCS), with specific orders to be commissioned back into Military Intelligence (MI).  

His application was accepted with that stipulation. However, when George completed Infantry OCS at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was informed that due to the high casualty rate and heavy demand for infantry field officers in Vietnam, and since he was now trained as an infantry officer, he would stay an infantry officer. After cycling several companies of recruits through boot camp at Fort Lewis, Washington, newly promoted First Lieutenant George Papa became a platoon leader in the jungle of just south of the DMZ. 

Twenty years later, George wrote his first book, called ‘The Conclusion’, which details several search and destroy missions that he and his men conducted deep into the triple canopy jungle of Vietnam.  This book contains more than one hundred seventy illustrative photos of that war and concludes with the overrun of LZ Mary Ann, which was the only time in that war that a U.S. battalion headquarters was destroyed, which was Lt. Papa’s battalion.

Since this first book, Mr. Papa has written fifteen other books.  The first six of these are now released as e-books and are further discussed on this website. Mr. Papa is now retired from being a real estate broker and developer and he and his wife have six children and ten grandchildren.
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