French Legion of Honor Medals Awarded To World War II Oklahoma Veterans

Saturday, June 18th 2016, 10:42 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa man and a Stillwater man were among 11 Oklahomans who received France’s Legion of Honor medal this week. 

At a ceremony in Oklahoma City on Thursday, Sujiro Seam, consul general of France, presented the medals to the World War II veterans who demonstrated bravery and valor in the liberation of France. 

Among them was Tech Sgt. James Clemons who now lives in Tulsa.  He was born and raised in Iowa.

After enlisting in 1943, Clemons was a mechanic and gunner with the 15th Air Force, 484th Bomber Group and flew 35 combat missions.  In 1963, he moved to Oklahoma and worked for the U.S. Post Office until his retirement and served as a volunteer firefighter and fire marshal.  

And Maurice Manion of Stillwater began his military service in September 1942. He landed in France in 1944 as part of the 15th Cavalry Mechanized, traveling more than 1,000 miles, took nearly 7,000 prisoners and destroyed 78 guns and 495 vehicles. He also participated in a number of campaigns including Normandy and northern France.

The other veterans awarded medals included:

  • Lt. Seward Meintsma - Edmond
  • John Hilderbran - Moyers
  • Captain Lloyd Mitchell - Moore
  • Col. William Myers - Nichols Hills
  • General William O'Bryan - Oklahoma City
  • Lt. Clarence "Paul" Ratliff - Washington 
  • Harley Richardson - Bethany
  • Eugene Weber - Hooker
  • Paul Wilson - Edmond

American veterans who fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor.