St. Louis-area WWII veterans honored by France

1 month 3 weeks 4 days ago Sunday, January 27 2019 Jan 27, 2019 Sunday, January 27, 2019 1:08:00 PM CST January 27, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press
Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three St. Louis-area World War II veterans in their 90s who played roles in liberating France from Nazi occupation have been given France's Legion of Honor.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a ceremony on Wednesday at Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis honored 95-year-old Alfred Villagran of Chesterfield, 98-year-old Eugene Harmack of Kirkwood and 98-year-old Glenn Harrison of O'Fallon.

The honor was started in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and past recipients have included President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and St. Louis aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Guillaume Lacroix, consul general of France for the Midwest, told about 200 friends and relatives who attended the event that without Americans like Villagran, Harmack and Harrison, the French flag "would not be flying here today."

As Lacroix pinned his country's most distinguished medal to Villagran's chest, Villagran thought of the five men in his B-17 bomber crew who were killed in combat.

"I think they would be very proud of me," said Villagran, who was 19 when he served in the Army Air Forces as a B-17 radio operator and gunner. "But I like to think that I accepted this not only for myself but for all the guys that fought for France and Western Europe. There are a lot of deserving guys who didn't make it back."

Harmack was a communications operator in the 329th Infantry Regiment HQ Company, 83rd Division, when he fought in northern France and Central Europe. He once secured a vehicle trapped behind enemy lines and used the radio inside to re-establish communications with Allied forces, earning the Bronze Star.

He was 24 when he fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes forest in Belgium. The battle, fought in below-zero cold, was the largest single one on the Western front, resulting in the deaths of nearly 20,000 American soldiers.

Harmack, who turns 99 on Feb. 2, called the medal "a great honor. I'm very proud."

Harrison was 23 when he was a pilot on a B-17 plane that flew 17 missions and was shot down twice. Once, his crew survived by bailing into the English Channel.

The second time, the plane was shot down as it flew toward Munich. The crash killed some members of the crew. Harrison survived but was taken prisoner and forced to march 300 miles into Nazi territory. He was held from June 1944 to January 1945.

"I'm very honored," said Harrison, who will turn 99 in March.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Law enforcement agencies are turning to social media to connect with the people they serve. Police departments, sheriff's... More >>
7 minutes ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 6:43:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY - A body was recovered from the Missouri River Sunday afternoon. The Saline County Sheriff's Office said... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 4:50:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here's how to get help : In the... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 3:35:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) - The special counsel did not find Trump campaign or associates conspired with Russia. "The special counsel's investigation... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 1:05:00 PM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A locally-owned beer shop will close its doors for good on Wednesday. Craft Beer Cellar announced its... More >>
7 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 11:08:00 AM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- The evacuation of passengers from a cruise ship off the western coast of Norway has come to an... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, March 24 2019 Mar 24, 2019 Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:14:41 AM CDT March 24, 2019 in News
(CNN) — Rescuers are scrambling to rescue about 1,300 passengers and crew from a cruise ship off Norway... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 11:09:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
MOBERLY — Moberly Police said they have arrested a man who tried to escape from them. According to Moberly... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 8:05:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is recalling more than 69,000 pounds (31,297 kilograms) of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strips because... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here's how to get help : In the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 4:45:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Boone County officials have found an elderly man who went missing in Columbia, Saturday. Officials said they ended... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:56:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - The smell of fresh barbecue filled the air at the Bear Bottom Resort this afternoon. The community... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:20:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A fire broke out at the intersection of Broadway and Old Highway 63 South. The fire was... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
BOWLING GREEN — A student at Bowling Green High School died Friday after a car crash according to the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 2:55:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - The Audrain County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man wanted on outstanding felony charges. In... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 23 2019 Mar 23, 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 12:31:00 PM CDT March 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia city leaders met in a closed meeting on Friday to propose ways to build relationships between the... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday turned over his long-awaited final report on the contentious Russia... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 4:23:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Parts of northwest Missouri are being evacuated following severe flooding throughout the day. Officials in St. Joseph... More >>
2 days ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 3:25:00 PM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 63°
7pm 59°
8pm 57°
9pm 54°
10pm 53°