11 Texas World War II veterans receive France’s highest honor

French Legion of Honor (KXAN Photo)
French Legion of Honor (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friday at the Capitol, 11 World War II veterans received the Medal of Knight in the French Order of the Legion of Honor.

It was quite a ceremony and it’s quite an honor. The medal is the highest, most prestigious decoration in France awarded to recognize merit or bravery.

Friday’s ceremony also recognized all the veterans who are no longer among the living.

“May our children know who they are, what they did for us and why they did it. To do anything less would be a disservice to their sacrifice and their memory,” said Chaplain Rick Randall with the Austin Police Department.

From Austin: Roberto GUERRA (Sergeant) was born on May 5, 1925 and joined the US Army on July 30, 1943.He served as a Squad Leader in the 143rd Infantry Division in Italy and France. He received the Purple Heart, Three Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Marksman Badge.

From Canyon Texas: Blaine HUFNAGLE (Tech Sergeant) was born on December 21,1922.Drafted on February 9, 1943, he joined the Air force and after basic training (airplane mechanic school and gunnery school) he was assigned to be a Flight Engineer and top turret gunner on B-17 bombers with the 8th air Force, 94th Bomb Group, 410 Squadron. He flew more than 30 missions in France, Belgium, and Germany. He received the Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

From Seguin, Texas: George KARM (Corporal) was born on February 24, 1924. He joined the US Army on February 18,1943. He fought on D-DAY (Normandy), Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe. He received the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, the EAME Campaign Ribbon with 5 Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Ribbon and 3 Overseas Service Bars.

From Tuleza, Texas: Oliver MORRIS (Staff Sergeant) was born on July 27, 1921. He enrolled  into the US Army on December 1st, 1942 and after basic training in Wichita Falls, Texas, he joined the Army Air Corps, 453rd Bomb Group. He took part in the Normandy Invasion and fought in Northern France. He received the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 From San Augustine, Texas: Alvin NEWTON (Tec 5) was born on September 30, 1924. He enlisted in the US Army on December 13, 1943. After completing basic training at Camp Fannin, Texas, he joined the 36th infantry division as first scout, rifleman and bazooka operator. He took part in the Southern France Campaign. He received the WWII Victory Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal and the EAME Theater Ribbon and 4 Bronze Service Stars.

From Austin, Texas: William RITTENBERRY (Staff Sergeant) was born on December 12, 1925. Enlisted in the US Army, he arrived in Marseille France in January 1945, with the 42nd Infantry Division. They advanced northwards towards the Alsace region,  and  later pushed on into Germany to gain an ultimate victory in Europe. He received the Campaign Ribbon with Two Bronze Stars, army of Occupation Ribbon, the Victory Ribbon and 2 overseas Service Bars.

From Kerrville Texas: Walter SCHATTEL (Tec Sergeant) was born on September 3, 1924. He was a member of the 8th Air Force, 487 Bomb Group stationed in England. He participated in bombing German installations in France, taking part in the liberation of France. He received the Air Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and the Good Conduct Medal.

From Arlington, Texas: Charles SCREWS (Lieutenant Colonel) enlisted in the Air Corps in July 1941 in Texas, graduating in April 1943 as a Flight Officer. He received P-47 training in Virginia and he was shipped overseas on the Queen Elisabeth in November 1943 to Bottisham, England. He was committed to the 8th Air Force Bomber Escort. He was downed by enemy ground fire on January 29, 1944. He evaded to Spain helped by the French Underground, returning to his group in May 1944.He was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

From Georgetown, Texas: Mortimer SHEFFLOE (Sergeant) was born in November 1924.He entered military service in 1943.Early in 1944, he was assigned to the 97th infantry division for training and in March 1944 he started his journey to England and on to France in July 1944. He was part of Operation Cobra in late July 1944, fought in Dinart, St Malo and Brest. On September 10, 1944, Mr. Sheffloe was severely wounded and remained in hospitals until VE day. He received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, the American Campaign Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

From Wichita Falls, Texas: William THACKER (Sergeant) was born on March 13, 1924.He reported to active duty in February 1943 in San Antonio, Texas and was sent to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. His crew was assembled in the Spring of 1944 in Avon Park, Florida, where he received training for B-17s. He landed in England on June 29, 1944 from where he flew 30 missions in total. He received the EAME Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.

From Granbury, Texas: Harry WHISLER: (Private First Class) was born on June 15, 1922. He enlisted in the army in November 1942. After extensive training, he landed in Cherbourg, Normandy, France in September 1944 with General Patton’s 10th armored “Tiger” division, and served to the end of the war as a medic. He fought in the battle of Metz, the battle of the Bulge, and took part in the fierce battle of Ayl/Okfen/Irsch. He was one of the first to arrive at the Landsburg concentration camp and continued on through Germany. He received the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, the good conduct medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Combat Medical Badge the European Campaign Medal with Three Stars.

Recipients unable to attend the ceremony:

From De Berry, Texas: Leonard CADENHEAD (TEC 5) was born on April 17, 1920. He was drafted into the US Army in October 1942. He served as a Sharpshooter Rifle and supply clerk. He took part in the battles of Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He received the EAME Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze stars, the American Theater Campaign, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Ribbon,1 Service Stripe and 3 Overseas Service Bars.

From Lubbock, Texas: Michael CAMBON (1st Lieutenant) born in May, 1923,  he joined the US Army in January 1943 and served as a navigator in the 8th Air Force, 466 Bomb Group. He fought in Northern France (ST-lo, Amiens, St Quentin, Rouen, Dijon) and Rhineland. He received the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters for his service.

From Hitchcock, Texas: Raymond CRUSE (Sergeant) was born on August 18,1921.Enlisted in the US army on July 20,1940, he served as a Squad Leader and fought in Normandy, Northern France , Ardennes, Rhineland  and Central Europe. He received the American Defense Service Medal and the EAME Campaign with 5 Bronze Stars.

From Longview, Texas: William MALONE (Corporal) was born on October 2, 1923 and joined the US Army on November 6, 1943 and took part in the battles of Bulge and Ardennes as a mortar first gunner. He received the American Theater Ribbon, the EAME Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal, The Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge.

From Athens, Texas: Hubert MARTIN (Tec 4) was born on April 9,1921 and enlisted in the US Army on July 9,1942. He served as a Private First Class in the CO A 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion United States Third Army. He fought in Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He received the American Theater Campaign Medal, the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge, WWII Victory Medal, and the Purple Heart.

From Kerrville Texas: Fred RICKETTS (Staff Sergeant) was born on March 30,  1924.He enlisted in the U S Army Air Force in 1941 and served in England, based with the 8th Air Force. He flew as a gunner in heavy bombers for the first year and as an in-flight gunnery instructor for the last years. He fought in Ardennes, Northern France and Normandy. He received the Air Medal with Oak leaf cluster.

From Kingsland, Texas: Stoddart GERALD: (captain) was born on January 19, 1924 and enlisted into the US Army in June 1942. After graduating from Flying School as a 2nd Lieutenant, he joined the 55 Fighter Group and became a fighter Pilot for P-38 and P-51. On June 18, 1944, he provided cover for the ground forces over Normandy, escort missions over Le Havre and strafing missions on German troops in Picardie, France. He received the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf, Prisoner of War Medal, European theater Medal.

 

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