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France honors three N.C. WWII vets

Posted December 1, 2009
Updated December 2, 2009

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— French officials honored three World War II veterans from North Carolina in a ceremony Tuesday at the state Capitol.

The Consul General of France, Pascal Le Deunff, presented the Legion of Honor medal, the highest honor in France, to Woodrow D. Casey, of Grifton, Robert W. Pyle, of Wilmington, and Earl W. Norwood, of Morehead City.

Casey was assigned to the 238th combat engineer. He helped clear mines and roads so other troops could move ashore.

Pyle, a sergeant in the communications unit of the 366th Fighter Group, said he is still haunted by the innocent lives lost. "There's a lot I don't talk about," he said.

Woodrow D. Casey N.C. WWII vets honored by France

Norwood served as part of the third wave carrying 36 soldiers from the 1st division of the U.S. Army to Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy. 

"What I want to represent here today is those I left behind or that we left behind," Casey said. "They are the true heroes. They are the ones that did the sacrifice."

Deunff said the honor is bestowed to Americans who "contributed to the liberation" of France.

"It made me understand that we are appreciated. That people care and that people understood what we did," Norwood said.


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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Dec 2, 2009

    Congrats to these vets. They deserve the recognition.

  • NC Reader Dec 2, 2009

    ambergail -- I've seen how much respect the French give to American WWII veterans and how much they care for the graves of the ones who died. These medals were just another recognition of veterans who are (sadly) likely near the ends of their lives -- another recognition while there is still time. Now I have tears in my eyes again ... .

  • miketroll3572 Dec 2, 2009

    Congratulations, you men are true heroes!

  • FromClayton Dec 2, 2009

    good. i'm glad france still remembers who got them out of that mess.... but i do wonder why it took them so long to give out the medals? it's been a while since wwII

  • BeenHereSince67 Dec 2, 2009

    Hooray for these wonderful men! And Hooray too, for the folks in France, who despite the differences they see between our two countries, continue to award the bravery of our soldiers. These men helped to liberate France which allowed it to become the great country it is today. We don't always see eye to eye with them, but they, along with the British, are our trusted allies in today's world.

  • wildcat Dec 2, 2009

    My father sacrificed too and return home alive. I will never forget that.

  • wildcat Dec 2, 2009

    Nice and I wish my father would have been honored who was in the WWII war.

  • lonewolf2735 Dec 2, 2009

    Congratulations to the recipients. I don't know you, but I'm very proud of what you sacrificed for my freedom. I won't forget that.

  • NC Reader Dec 1, 2009

    What a moving ceremony that must have been. It brings tears to my eyes to hear about World War II veterans being honored for their service. Alas, so many of them are dying now. Thank you to the French people for showing their appreciation this way.