France pays tribute to American WWII Veterans [fr]

During the Fleet Week / Broward Navy Days, the Consulate general of France had the honor to recognize nine WWII soldiers who fought in France.
Thanks to their participation, France and Europe had their peace, democracy, and liberty restored. The ceremony took place on the aircraft carrier, the USS Bataan on May 7, 2016. Seven other veterans were recognized in Orlando on July 6th, 2016. Another ceremony is scheduled in July in Tampa, Fl.
Each year, approximately 10 ceremonies are organized by the consulate. Since 2008, more than 1,500 people have received this award in our district.
The first half of this year, has offered us the opportunity to honor 55 individuals in Florida, and M. Alfred Solano in Porto Rico.

On July 6, 2016, seven of them received the insignia of the knight, in the order of distinction in Orlando, and 10 others will be awarded by the French Army Department, in the United States Central Command in Tampa for Bastille Day.

On July 6, 2016 those were the seven other Americans who fought in France, who were recognized in Orlando. For the service they accomplished, Mr. George DAVIS, Anthony FALBO, Donald KOELBEL, Roland LEE, and Eric REILINGER received the highest French distinction. Mr. Ralph BOVE et Murvin GOYETTE, sadly passed away before the ceremony, but several of their family members were present.

In the presence of Mme Brigitte Jensen, the honorary Consul of Orlando ; M. Jerry Pierce, President Président of the Foundation of Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park ; M. Rick Singh, the elected Florida Appraiser from Orange County ; Mme Carol Palacio, representing the mayor of Orange County ; M. Tom Self, Regional Director of Senator Marco Rubio’s office; M. David Sanchez’s representing Senator Bill Nelson; le Philippe Létrilliart, Consul general; and Jean-Michel Caffin, an official of the French Army Reserves handed over the medals.

Photo : Jean-Michel Caffin, an official of the French Army Reserves awards Mr. Roland Lee on July 6, 2016, in Orlando.

A recent ceremony was arranged for nine war heroes on Saturday May 7, 2016 on board of the USS Bataan in Port Everglades and took place during the Fleet Week Broward Navy Days.


Admiral Kurt Tidd and the Consul general, Mr. Philippe Létrilliart, addressed the audience about the strong alliance that has been uniting the United States and France for centuries. Were also in attendance Rear Admiral Cynthia Thebaud who is in command of the Expeditionary Strike Group 2, Commanding Officer, Captain John Carter of the USS Bataan, as well as Broward Navy Days director, Mary-Anne Gray were also in attendance.


The nine soldiers honored that day have already been recognized for their outstanding achievements by the U.S. government. They participated in the Liberation of France by fighting for instance during the Battle of Normandy, the Battle of Ardennes or the Battle of Rhineland. Whether they were technicians, combat engineers, radio operators or riflemen, their courageous involvement engaged our country on a path of 70 years of peace and for that the consulate awarded them with the Legion of Honor Medal in the name of the French Republic.

The medals were given by Nicole Hirsh, Vice-President of the American Society of the French Legion of Honor, and Captain Jean-Michel Caffin, French Army Reserve.


In addition, it is the consulate’s firm will to inform the younger generations about the significant events and people that had an influence on history, therefore, on our present lives. That is why the consulate organizes sessions at schools and universities that allow students and veterans to interact with each other, giving students the opportunity to listen to stories of actual occurrences, experienced by the veterans themselves. These moments are not only greatly appreciated by the students, but by the war heroes as well.

  • The next Legion of Honor ceremony will be held at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum on Bastille Day, July 14, 2016 at 5:30pm.

Last modified on 12/07/2016

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