Seven NC veterans to receive French honor
Posted January 28, 2015 9:50 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Seven World War II veterans from North Carolina will receive the French National Order of the Legion of Honor in a ceremony at the State Capitol in Raleigh on Feb. 3, the consulate general of France announced Wednesday.
The Legion of Honor, France's highest honor, is given to veterans "to express France's eternal gratitude to those who liberated it from oppression from 1944-45."
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor recognizes services to the French Republic. American veterans who risked their lives during World War II and who fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor.
Veterans must have fought in one of the four main campaigns of the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence, Ardennes or Northern France.
The following North Carolina veterans will receive the honor at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3:
- Harold L. Eatman, of Matthews, technical sergeant, Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 513th Parachute Infantry
- Fernnie C. Letchworth, of Sharpsburg, staff sergeant, Headquarters Battery, 602nd Glider Artillery Battalion
- James D. Seitzer, of Chapel Hill, sergeant, Company E, 324th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division
- Julien G. Highsmith, of Brasstown, seaman first class, Landing Ship Tank 503
- Charles Di Maria, of Greensboro, private first class, Battery C, 633rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion
- James M. Hamby, of Valdese, private first class, Headquarters Battery, 29th Field Artillery Battalion
- Donald R. Judd, of Burlington, private first class, 36th Infantry Division
In addition, Candy Bernard will be present to receive the medal on behalf of her late father, Leon E. Bernard, first lieutenant, 93rd Bomb group, 8th Air Force.