Iakov Khusid was born in 1924 in the town of Ananiev, north of Odessa. The family moved to Odessa, where Iakov grew up. For all of his adult life he regarded Odessa as his native town.
When the Soviet-German war started, Iakov Khusid was only 17 years old and still exempt. from the draft. When his father Yisrael was drafted, Iakov became the man in the family. After accompanying his mother and siblings to their evacuation to Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Iakov volunteered for the Red Army. He then attended a military school, from which he graduated in 1943 with the rank of lieutenant.
With the 299th Infantry Division, Iakov was sent to the Kursk Salient, where the most bloody operation of World War II was beginning. He became the commander of a platoon of his regiment. Later Iakov Khusid recollected that, although he was the commander, he was the youngest soldier in his platoon.
During the war, Khusid was not awarded any orders, but did receive two medals "For Courage." The first of them, awarded on August 3, 1943, was for capturing an enemy informer, who proved to be very "talkative" and provided important information. Two weeks later, Khusid was seriously wounded in both legs and one arm by a mortar shell. He was found by his comrades only two days after being wounded. For his part in the Kharkov offensive Khusid was awarded his second medal. After a long stay in a military hospital and a series of operations, he was dismissed from the army.
After the war, Iakov Khusid worked at a state truck enterprise for inter-city transportation in Odessa. He started there as a technician, but finished there as the director.
In the 1990s, Iakov Khusid moved to the United States, where he settled in Baltimore. He became the chairman of the Baltimore Association of World World War II Veterans from the Former USSR. Khusid died in 2011.
The former Red Army lieutenant Iakov Khusid recounted a meeting he had with Colonel (later General) Viktor Khusid on the front lines in 1943
"When I arrived at the 299th Division, I was suddenly summoned to the colonel, deputy division commander [Viktor] Khusid. He was interested in my name – 'Perhaps we are related?' No, we were not: he was from Kiev, and I was from Odessa. We talked heart-to-heart. The colonel expressed the wish that I fight with honor and return home with victory. In liberated Belgorod we met again, and the colonel congratulated me on my first and, as he said, 'I hope not the last' award. We did not meet again."
After this meeting, Iakov Khusid was seriously injured and then demobilized.