On the 73rd Anniversary of D-Day, 4 Louisiana World War II Veterans decorated with the Legion of Honor [fr]
During a ceremony commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day landings and the 17th anniversary of the inauguration of the National World War II Museum, Mr. Boyter, Mr. Martin, Mr. McLean, and Mr. Weller were decorated with the Legion of Honor, the highest decoration of the French Republic founded by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802.
Excerpt from Consul General Grégor Trumel’s speech:
"I would like to express to you, in the name of the people of France, our most sincere appreciation for your actions. As very young men, you left your family and friends to cross the ocean and participate in some of the fiercest battles of modern history, far away from home, to help the peoples of Europe free themselves from tyranny.
Today, we want to pay tribute to you, and to all American veterans, who liberated France and Europe, for your actions of courage, honor, and sense of duty in the common fight for the values both our countries stand for: liberty, justice, democracy, and human dignity."
To watch the full ceremony, click here.
Mr. Roy J. Boyter was assigned to the 115 Infantry in the 2nd Battalion of the 29th Division in Company E. He landed on Omaha beach on the morning of June 6th, 1944, and pushed inland. He was wounded on June 10th 1944 and was captured and taken to a POW camp, where he remained until he was liberated by advancing American forces. Mr. Boyter is a retired air conditioner and refrigeration repairman and now resides in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Mr. Burnia Martin served as an aerial gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress with the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force. He participated in 14 missions over Belgium, France, Norway, and Germany from June 22, 1943 until September 16 1943, when his plane was shot down. He captured by German forces along with other survivors from the crew and was detained as a POW in Paris for 2 weeks, before being sent to Stalag 17B in Krems, Austria, where he remained until liberated in 1945. Mr. Martin is a retired electricians and jeweler and now resides in Bogalusa, Louisiana.
Mr. George E. McLean was assigned to the 409 Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force. He participated in the Normandy Air Invasion in Northern France, in the Rhine Valley and in the Balkans. With the help of his co-pilot, he provided necessary aid to severely crewmen severely wounded during battle. Mr. McLean now resides in Metairie, Louisiana.
Mr. James M. Weller was a tank mechanic and driver under the command of the 62nd Artillery Battalion (Group C), attached to the 1st Infantry Division. He participated in the Normandy Invasion, battles in Northern France, the Rhine Valley, the Ardennes, as well as in Central Europe, Tunisia and Sicily. His unit provided support to the troops who landed on Omaha beach, firing into the German defensive. They were one of the first units to enter Belgium in 1944, and were heavily involved in taking the German town of Aachen on October 21, 1944. Mr. Weller volunteered with the National World War II museum, and currently resides in Metairie, Louisiana.