14 WWII veterans receive Legion of Honor in San Diego

On April 8 2015, France bestowed the National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier on fourteen World War II US Army veterans at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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The Government of France bestowed the National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight) to 14 World War II Veterans at a ceremony at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on April 8, 2015. The award is the highest honor France bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals.

The presentation of the awards were made by Mr. Fabrice Maïolino, Deputy Consul General of France in Los Angeles.

The 14 veterans who were honored included:

Captain Jay F. Walker was born in St. Louis, Missouri in April 1923. He served as a B-17 pilot in the 546th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group and completed 30 combat missions over occupied Europe. His significant decorations include two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 5 Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the European African Middle Eastern (EAME) Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars. Jay resides in Carlsbad, California with his wife Theresa.

Captain William J. O’Leary was born in New York City, NY in January 1925. He was a B-17 pilot and flew 22 combat missions with the 547th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group. His significant decorations include three Air Medals, the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars, and the Army of Occupation Medal. He resides in San Diego with his wife Elsie.

First Lieutenant Darrell D. Eichhoff was born in June 1923 in Piedmont, Oklahoma. Darrell completed 39 combat missions as a B-26 pilot with the 558th Bomb Squadron of the 387th Bomb Group. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, 7 Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation and the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars. Darrell and his wife of 69 years, Corinne, reside in Escondido, California.

Technical Sergeant Gilbert “Max” Foss was born May 1917 in Placentia, California. He served in Europe with the Headquarters Company, 326th Ordnance Battalion in General Patton’s 3rd Army. His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. Max currently resides in San Marcos, California with his wife Louise.

Technical Sergeant Rudolph Villalobos was born June 1923 in Anaheim, California. In Europe he flew 32 combat missions as a B-17 Radio Operator and Gunner with the 8th Air Force, 94th Bomb Group and later in 1945 flew an additional 50 missions in the China-Burma-India Theater. His significant decorations include: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster, two Presidential Unit Citations, the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 battle stars, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the Chinese War Memorial Badge. Rudy and his wife, Maria Teresa, reside in Calexico, California.

Staff Sergeant George R. Leyva was born in Los Angeles, California in April 1923. He served as a B-17 Gunner with the 511th Bomb Squadron of the 351st Bomb Group and completed 32 combat missions. His significant decorations include: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the EAME Campaign Medal with 2 battle stars. George and his wife Norma reside in Anaheim, California.

Staff Sergeant Thomas M. Rice was born in August 1921 in San Diego. He served as a squad leader with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and jumped on D-Day. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantryman Badge, two Presidential Unit Citations, EAME Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars, and the French and Belgian Fourragères. He resides in Coronado, California with his wife Brenda.

Staff Sergeant Seichi Sakaida was born in O’okala, Hawaii in July 1922. He served in Italy and France with Company K of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. His significant decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 battle stars and the Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal. He resides with his daughter in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

Staff Sergeant Frank M. Wada was born in Redlands, CA in July 1921. Frank served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, “E” Company, in Italy and France. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters. Frank resides in Spring Valley, California.

In November 2011, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was presented the Congressional Gold Medal at ceremonies in Washington D.C.

Corporal Sheldon D. Singer was born in Chicago, Illinois in March 1923. Sheldon served as a topographer/cartographer with the 391st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 battle stars, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Sheldon and his wife Tillie currently reside in San Diego, California.

Technician Fifth Grade Malcolm Winslow was born in Baltimore, Maryland in February 1920. He served as a radio operator with the 318th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Infantry Division. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the EAME Campaign Medal with four Battle Stars. He resides in San Diego with his wife Frances.

Private First Class Donald F. Breitenberg was born in Chicago, Illinois in March 1925. He served in Europe with the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 12th Armored Division. His significant awards include the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars. He resides in La Jolla, California with his wife Jeanne.

Private First Class Arthur W. Weldon was born in San Pedro, California in March 1925. During World War II he was assigned as a rifleman with the 30th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. His significant awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars, and the Croix de Guerre unit award. Art and Evelyn, his wife of 72 years, live in San Diego, California.

Private Harold A. Roth was born in August 1924 in Illmo, Missouri. In Europe he served with the 359th Infantry Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars. He resides in San Diego, California with his wife Juanita.

Dernière modification : 16/04/2015

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