Legion of Honor: 10 WWII veterans honored in SF

(February 3, 2015) the Consul of France in San Francisco, Pauline Carmona, presented the medal of the Legion of Honor to 10 WWII American veterans. The ceremony was held at the Residence of France in San Francisco.

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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - 03/02/2015

Ten American World War II veterans were awarded France’s highest honor Tuesday morning; The Legion of Honor. It recognizes their service and sacrifice.

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"Today we are celebrating 10 heroes," said French Consul General Pauline Carmona. "You saved France and Europe from hell. You saved people you didn’t even know." One by one, Carmona pinned the medals on the men, ending each time with "merci."

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"Seventy one years after the fact," 91-year old Lawson Sakai pointed out. "It’s a long time, but it’s nice! Sakai was one of the honorees. He tried to enlist in the military the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and found out his new designation didn’t allow it.

"Which is the designation for enemy alien, so all of a sudden I was not an American anymore." Sakai was born in America, and grew up in Southern California. He would later join the 442nd, an all-Japanese descent regimen. "If we didn’t win the war," Sakai explained, "we’d either be speaking German or Japanese today."

Time is running out to thank the men from what’s been called "The Greatest Generation".

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"I’m the last one alive from my outfit," said 92-year-old Jake Larson. He joked, "The key to life is don’t die!" Larson lied about his age to join the Army when he was 15 years old.

"Born in 1922, take three (years) away, I was born in 1919," Larson explained. "He says you’re in! Sign here." Larson was part of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy. "I feel bad for all the people I was with," he said. "And they’re not here anymore."

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Consul General Carmona said without the men’s service to their country, the people of her country would not be free today.

"We all fought for same cause. Everybody had a different story to tell," Larson said with a tear in his eye. "And I’m glad I got a little chance to tell part of mine."

Link to video KTVU :

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Speeches

PDF - 22.8 kb
Pauline Carmona Speech / Feb 3rd 2015
Please click picture to read the speech

AGUILAR David

"You joined the US Army in March 1943 at the age of 20. As a rifleman, you participated in several battles against German troops, in Central Europe, Rhineland and in the Ardennes, including the major campaign of the Battle of the Bulge, in 1944 and 1945. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theatre Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the AT Service Medal, the Bronze Service Star, and the Combat Infantryman Badge."

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ALLEN William

"You joined the US Army in December 1942 at the age of 20, in active duty in December 1943 as a US Air Force pilot. You fought in Italy, southern France and Germany. In the summer of 1944, you were present at Poretta Corsica alongside the 86th group of fighters and participated as a bomber pilot in twenty-four missions in the south of France in support of the landing in Provence, including the air attack against the Orange Caritat base occupied by the enemy. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Campaign Medal with six Battle Stars, the Air Medal with three oak leaves and the Distinguished Flying Cross."

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HOCKENBERRY John

"You joined the US Army in March 1943 at the age of 18. As a rifleman of the 66th Infantry Division, you took part in many battles on French territory against the German armies, including those carried out in the north of France from December 1944 until the end of the hostilities in May 1945.For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Combat Infantry Badge, the American Campaign Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Bronze Star for meritorious service when you participated with your division in containing the enemy fire in the Saint-Nazaire and Lorient pockets."

JENSON Hadley (presentation to his family)

"Hadley N. Jenson joined the US Army in June 1941 at the age of 23.Sergeant technician in the 99th Transportation Battalion of the 474th Infantry Regiment, he
participated in battles against the German armies during the major campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. For his actions during WWII, he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Theater Service Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern theatre Service Medal and four Overseas Service Bars."

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KADOTA Masao

"You joined the US Army in June 1944 at the age of 20. Rifleman in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, you participated in the Italian campaign then took part in the fighting in the Vosges in 1944 before participating in the Rhineland campaign. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army occupation Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theater service ribbon and the World War II Victory ribbon."

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LARSON Jake

"You joined the US Army in November 1938 by lying about you real date of birth, you were not even 18. In active duty in February 1941, you were a clerk in the 135th Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division and participated in battles against the German armies in the north of France and Normandy, including the D-day, Normandy Invasion, on June 6, 1944. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, three Battle Stars, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theater service Ribbon, the Good conduct Ribbon, the American Defense Service Ribbon and the Individual Award of the Bronze Service Arrowhead for your participation in the assault which helped secure the beaches during the D-Day."

MANAKA Royal

"You joined the US Army in November 1941 at the age of 21. As First Sergeant in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, you participated in the Italian campaign then took part in the fighting in the Vosges in 1944. From October 14 to 30, you participated in the liberation of Bruyere’s strategic passage, so the US 36th Division could cross the Vosges from West to East and compelled the enemy into a hasty retreat. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Combat Infantry Badge, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal."

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SAKAI Lawson

"You joined the US Army in June 1943 at the age of 19. With the 2nd Battalion of the 442nd Infantry Regiment , you participated in the Italian campaign then also took part also in the fighting in the Vosges in 1944. From October 14 to 30, you participated in the liberation of Bruyeres and you were then posted to the epic rescue of the " Lost Battalion ", the US 141st Infantry Regiment, surrounded by the enemy in Biffontaine . You yourself were wounded during the military operations. For your actions, you were awarded, among others, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theater medal, the WWII Victory Medal and the Distinguished Unit Badge."

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TSUDA Masuo

"You joined the US Army in August 1943 at the age of 19. With the 442nd Infantry Regiment , you participated in the Italian campaign then took part in the fighting in the Vosges in 1944. From October 14 to 30, you participated in the liberation of the strategic passage of Bruyeres. Wounded in Europe, you were awarded for your actions, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theater medal, the WWII Victory Medal and the Distinguished Unit Badge."

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YASUKAWA George (presentation to his family)

"George Yasukawa joined the US Army in July 1943 at the age of 22. With the 3rd Battalion of the 442nd Infantry Regiment , he participated in the Italian campaign then took part in the fighting in the Vosges in 1944. He participated in the liberation of Bruyeres and in the epic rescue of the " Lost Battalion “ in Biffontaine. George Yasukawa himself was wounded twice during these military operations. For his actions, George Yasukawa was awarded the Purple Heart Medal with oak leaf, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Distinguished Unit Badge with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, The
Good conduct medal, the Victory Medal , the European Africa Middle Eeastern Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Battle Stars."

Pictures

Find all the pictures, took during the ceremony, here :

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Dernière modification : 04/02/2015

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