Exchange with 3 WWII US Veterans and Florida panelists [fr]
On November 10, 2020, to mark Veterans Day, our Consulate hosted a discussion with three American veterans of the Second World War with panelists from Florida.
WWII Veterans and Chevaliers of the Legion of Honor, Robert Anderson, Harold Stephens, and Harold Terens talked about their experiences and shared the lessons they have learned during the war with our panelists
- Laurent Gallissot, Consul General,
- Nicole Hirsch, Vice-President of the American Society of the French Legion of Honor (excused),
- Lt Cl Steven Murray, communications director in the Florida State Department of Veterans Affairs,
- Jessica Horshman, student at FIU,
- and John Bailly, professor at Florida International University Honors College, who moderated brilliantly the webinar.
Webinar attendees were able to take part in this fruitful exchange, honoring the memory of those who helped France and Europe to be free from totalitarianism and Nazi barbarism.
Biographies of veterans present at the panel:
- Mr. Harold Terens : decided to join the American military at 19 years old, where he became qualified as a “Radio Operator Mechanic” and distinguished himself as one of the fastest in Morse communication with 25 words per minute.
In 1943 he served as a radio operator across the Atlantic as part of the 350th Fighter Squadron of the 381st Bomber Group of the 8th Air Force, where his mission consisted of sending and receiving signals from airborne radios and sending and transmitting messages in Morse.
On June 6th, 1944, the bombers of the 381st Group went to support the Normandy landings operations. Mr. Terens’ actions ensured the successful communication during the operation. Thus, he actively participated in the success of the battles fought for the Liberation of Normandy and Northern France.
On June 20th, 1944, after volunteering, Mr. Terens landed in Normandy to take German prisoners of war to England. He took part in six similar operations in different French cities. Some of his missions also allowed American air forces to repatriate British prisoners of war.
For his military deeds, Mr. Harold Terens has received several medals from the US government, including the European Theater American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Victory Medal. He was also awarded on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy by Emmanuel Macron in the presence of the US President. He was honorably discharged in October 1945.
- Mr. Harold Stephens: was born on June 16th, 1924 in Jellico, Tennessee. Following his enlistment in the US Army in May 1943, Mr. Stephens was trained in Fort Crowder, Missouri, and in Camp Shanks, New-York. He then joined the 1st United States Army with which he landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, on June 10, 1944; it was D+4 a somber day during which the Allies lost nearly 15,000 men.
After his arduous landing, Mr. Stephens proceeded rapidly to fight at Sainte-Mère-Eglise, a strategic city because of the convergence of several main roads in its center. Later, he participated in the Liberation of Paris. In August 1944, Mr. Stephens joined the 3rd Army and headed towards the East of France. As a Technician fifth grade in the 246th Signal Operation Company, Mr. Harold Stephens first fought in the region of Nancy. Then, he participated in the Battle of the Ardennes during the harsh winter of 1944-45.
For his outstanding achievements, the American Government has presented him several awards including the European Theater of Operations Ribbon with 5 Bronze Service Stars, the WWII Victory Medal, and the good Conduct Medal.
- Mr. Robert Anderson : was born on September 22nd, 1925 in Glen Cove, New York. Mr. Anderson was assigned to the B Company of the 255th Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division on March 29, 1944.
As a Rifleman and a Private First Class, Mr. Anderson, who embarked on Liberty Ship on November 28, 1944 arrived in Marseille 11 days later with two other Regiments of his Division. Their mission was to reach the French city of Haguenau to protect the east flank of the Seventh Army along the Rhine River.
Mr. Robert Anderson joined rapidly a French army post at Camp d’Oberhoffen in Alsace. As a Combat infantryman, Mr. Robert Anderson was placed on the front line of the combat. On December 22nd, 1944, Mr. Anderson and his platoon secured the city of Schirrhein in the northeastern of France before joining the Maginot Line. After fighting from town to town along the Rhine River and securing positions, Mr. Anderson’s battalion faced the 38th Panzer Regiment during their assault on Achen, which lasted for 3 days.
In March 1945, Mr. Anderson fought in Sarreguemines before reaching the Siegfried Line and finally crossed the Rhine River on March 28, pushing the enemy out of France.
For his outstanding achievements, the American government has presented him with several awards including the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantry badge and the Bronze Star Medal with Valor.