Paul Galanti was born in 1939 in Glen Gardner, New Jersey. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on June 6, 1962, and became a Naval Aviator in 1963. Following a "plow-back" tour as a flight instructor, Galanti was assigned to the A-4 Replacement Air Group (RAG) in NAS Lemoore, California. He was shot down over North Vietnam while flying his 97th combat mission in an A-4 Skyhawk with VA-216 from the USS Hancock on June 17, 1966. He spent the next 2,432 days as a Prisoner of War in ten prisons scattered all over North Vietnam. CDR Galanti was released on February 12, 1973, during Operation Homecoming. Following hospitalization, he regained flight status, earned a Master of Commerce from the University of Richmond, and served as the Commanding Officer of Navy recruiting in Virginia. CDR Galanti served next as a Battalion Officer at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1979 until his medical retirement from the Navy on June 30, 1982. After his retirement from the Navy, he served as the CEO of the Virginia Pharmacy and Medical Societies, and has been active in entrepreneurial ventures, and veterans affairs policies on both the state and national level. Paul is a former President of NAM-POWs, serves as the webmaster for the NAM-POWs website, and is currently the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2010, the Education Center at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia, was dedicated the Paul & Phyllis Galanti Education Center in honor of Paul and his wife.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. On 26 December 1966, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.