[Simon Vigal was interviewed by Mark Rand at his used car lot on Coney Island Avenue, in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the summer of 2011.]
”Half of my body was burned- I couldn’t go outside for a year, except under dark of night.“
I fought in:
- 1967 – the Six Day War. I was seventeen year old paratrooper.
- 1969 – Karame Action (War of Attrition)– which took place in The Jordan Valley, west of the Jordan River.
- 1973 – Yom Kippur War
- 1983/84 – Operation Peace in Galilee, which was the First Lebanon War.
I have a medal for each of the campaigns and one for Paratrooper’s wings.
In 1974 I suffered severe burns in an accident, non-combat. I was assigned to the clearing operation prior to the return of Sinai peninsula to the Egyptian government. This was part of the peace treaty with Egypt and Israel. Bedouins had put gasoline as fuel for the field shower, rather than gas, and it caught fire, causing burns on half of my body. I was hospitalized for one year. I couldn’t go outside for a whole year, except under dark of night. In 1968 I was in a military exercise at Mitla, in the Sinai. This was a large training which included four divisions, tanks, infantry and a paratroopers. As I was landing I was struck by the falling gear box of another soldier who was landing. Both of my legs were broken, and was I was in casts for two months.