19 WWII veterans honored on V-E Day 70th anniversary

Today, Friday May 8 2015, Consul General of France, Axel Cruau honored 19 American World War II veterans with Legion of Honor on USS Iowa in San Pedro, California . The ceremony was also commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in Europe (V-E Day) on May 8, 1945.

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Speech Consul General



List of the nineteen World War II veterans who received the award of The National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight):

Colonel Ernest “Jack” Rokahr, USAR (Ret) was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in September 1922. During World War II he was a mortar platoon leader with the 274th Infantry Regiment of the 70th Infantry Division. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars. Jack resides in Los Angeles California.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Hecker, USAFR (Ret) was born in Provo, Utah in May 1922. He was a B-17 Bombardier with the US Army Air Corps 615th Bomb Squadron of the 401st Bomb Group, and completed 30 missions in Europe with 17 of those as lead. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars. Robert lives in Sherman Oaks, California.

Captain Walter V. Bodlander was born in Breslau, Germany in November 1920. In Europe he served in the U.S. Army 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division as a Military Intelligence Officer. His significant decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars. Walter resides in Los Angeles, California.

Sergeant First Class James H. Keller, USA (Ret) was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky in October 1923. He deployed in Europe with the U.S. Army 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division as part of a mortar crew and was wounded in the vicinity of Gathemo, France. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars, and the French Croix de Guerre Fourragere. James resides in Ventura, California.

Staff Sergeant Carmen A. Schiavoni was born in August 1924, in Chicago, Illinois. He served in U.S. Army Air Force and completed 30 combat missions as a B-17 a waist gunner and bombardier with the 709th Bomb Squadron of the 447th Bombardment Group. His major decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 bronze stars. Carmen resides in Northridge, California.

Technical Sergeant Masao Takahashi was born in Modesto, California in August 1924. He served with the 100th Infantry Battalion attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars and the Army of Occupation Medal. In November 2011, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was presented the Congressional Gold Medal at ceremonies in Washington D.C. Masao lives in Torrance, California with Elma, his wife of 68 years.

Sergeant Kenneth C. Mallory was born in Pasadena, California in December 1924. He served with the U.S. Army in the Aleutian Islands campaign during 1943-44 and then in Europe as a mortar man with the 345th Infantry Regiment of the 87th Infantry Division. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with five battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. Kenneth lives in Bradbury, California with his wife Elizabeth.

Sergeant Theodore J. Opilo was born in January 1923 in Coaldale, Pennsylvania. During World War II he was an Electrical Mechanic with the U.S. Army Air Corps 315th and 440th Airborne Troop Carrier Groups. His significant decorations include two Presidential Unit Citations, the EAME Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars and the World War II Victory Medal. Theodore resides in San Bernardino, California.

Corporal Ray L. Van Zanten was born in September 1924 in Newton, Iowa. In Europe he served in the U.S. Army with the 280th Field Artillery Battalion as a truck driver and forward observer. His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with four battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal. Ray resides in Apple Valley, California.

Technician Fifth Grade William R. Hahn was born in Culver City, California in October 1923. He was a rifleman with the U.S. Army 66th Armored Infantry Battalion and received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action near Hettstadt, Germany on 1 April 1945. His other significant decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Unit Award, the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. William resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife Madelyn.

Private First Class Reynaldo Chabolla was born in San Bernardino, California in July 1923. He deployed to Europe with the 457th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion and landed on Omaha in Normandy, France during the June 6-7 D-Day operations His significant decorations included the EAME Campaign Medal with five battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the American Campaign Medal. Reynaldo lives in San Dimas with Betty Lee, his wife of 71 years.

Private First Class Raymond D. Deveau was born in Los Angeles, California in October 1924. He served in Europe as a driver with the 564th Motor Ambulance Company. His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with five battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Ray currently resides in Westminster, California with his wife Barbara.

Private First Class Anthony G. Gallardo was born in Gallup, New Mexico in August 1922. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day with the U.S. Army 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. After recovering from serious wounds received later, he joined the 156th Infantry Regiment. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Anthony resides in Santa Fe Springs, California.

Private First Class Martin M. Lagin was born in New York, New York in January 1925. He served in Europe with the 304th Infantry Regiment of the 76th Infantry Division. He was seriously injured near Alsdorf Germany in February 1945 and had a long recuperation. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars. Martin resides in La Quinta, California with his wife Rhoda.

Private First Class Arthur M. Petersen was born in Mexico City, Mexico in March 1924. During World War II he served with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and parachuted into the St. Mere Eglise area of Normandy on D-Day. He was wounded in Holland and in Belgium. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Heart Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 battle stars. Arthur resides in Santa Barbara, California with his wife Gloria.

Private First Class Felipe Rodriguez, Sr. was born in Kingsville, Texas, in March 1919. He served as a U.S. Army switchboard operator with the 358th Infantry Regiment of 90th Infantry Division and landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day plus 2. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with four battle stars, and his unit received the French Croix de Guerre Fourragere. Felipe resides in Hacienda Heights, California.

Private First Class Herman Smith was born in Delhi, Louisiana in February 1924. He landed in Normandy, France shortly after D-Day in June 1944with the 979th Quartermaster Service Company supporting front line troops. His significant decorations included the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. Herman currently resides in Carson, California with his wife Blondean.

Private Leonard “Jerry” King was born in New York, New York in November 1922. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force in North Africa and Europe as a mechanic with the 312th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 349th Troop Carrier Group. His significant decorations include two Presidential Unit Citations, the EAME Campaign Medal with ten battle stars, the Army of Occupation Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Dernière modification : 19/05/2015

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