2 Oklahoma WWII Veterans Honored For Their Part In Liberating France

Monday, November 18th 2013, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

Two Oklahoma World War II veterans received a special honor Monday in Tulsa.

Roy Arnn, of Broken Arrow, and Robert Asbell, of Miami, were given the Medal of Chevalier of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor.

A French consul general awarded the medals to the men for their help liberating France during World War II. The honor is the highest, more prestigious decoration in France.

According to a press release, Arnn joined the 146th Combat Engineer Regiment on Jan. 28, 1943. In October of 1943, the soldiers left for England to train for the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach. On June 6, 1944, Arnn and his unit were among the first soldiers to arrive on the beach.

During the attack, Arnn suffered leg and back injuries. He spent six months in recovery in England before returning to France. He was stationed in Marseille until December 1945, when he reunited with his unit.

Arnn has received the following medals for his service:

Purple Heart
Good Conduct Medal
EAME Campaign Medal
Bronze Star
Bronze Arrowhead
World War II Victory Medal

Asbell joined the military on Feb. 19, 1943 and was incorporated into the 71st Infantry Regiment along with the 44th Infantry Division. He arrived in Cherbourg, France with his division on Sept. 15, 1944 where he trained for a month before the 44th left for the Vosges on Oct. 18, 1944. There Asbell and his comrades were confronted by the enemy near Lunéville. On Nov. 13, they seized the city of Avricourt and, with the 2nd armored French division, they took the city of Strasbourg on Nov. 17.

On Jan. 1, 1945, during an attack against the enemy near Obergailbach, Asbell realized that the communication equipment at his observation station no longer worked. He risked his life running under German fire to the nearest friendly station in order to pick up a working radio and re-establish communications. Asbell and his division directly contributed to the liberation of Ratzwiller, Bitche and Sarreguemines.

The soldiers moved toward Germany and seized Mannheim at the end of March 1945. At the beginning of May, the division arrived in Austria and stopped in Imst where they saw the end of the war.

Asbell has received the following medals for his service:

Bronze Star Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
American Campaign Medal
EAME Campaign Medal - 3 Bronze Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge