6 WW2 veterans awarded the Legion of Honor
On January 23rd, Romain Serman, Consul general of France in San Francisco celebrated six heroes, Kenneth Bull, George Cooper, Anthony Gambale, Stanley Kosta, Tito Moruza and Frank Walden whose courage, faith and dedication contributed – more than 60 years ago – to defend and preserve the independence of France and to save our common values : Liberty, Tolerance, Democracy.
These six young men came to rescue people they didn’t even know. But they can be sure that those people they didn’t know have not forgotten. Their children and grandchildren have not forgotten. France has not forgotten. This is the reason why, President N. Sarkozy has decided to award them the highest French recognition, the Legion of Honor.
Born on March 14th 1925 in Grand Junction, Colorado. M. Bull joined the US Army in June 1943 at age 18. As a member of the 175th Regiment – 29th Division, he landed on Omaha Beach, on June 7th 1944. His division occupied the village of Isigny, before heading toward Saint-Lo. The battle was fierce and many of his comrades lost their lives. He was injured by the enemy on June 18th. Therefore, he were evacuated beyond the frontline to recover. In September, his division took part to the invasion of Nazi Germany and occupied the region of Bremen, northern Germany after its surrender.
Born on June 22nd 1916 in Cooperstown, New York. M. Cooper joined the US Army in 1941. As a member of the 114th Infantry – 44th Division, he disembarked in Cherbourg, Normandy, on September 15th 1944. After resisting to a large Germany counter-attack. His unit engaged a large-scale offensive against the enemy lines and liberated some towns on its way to Strasburg, along with the French 2nd Armoured Division. On November 25th, M. Cooper was injured in the vicinities of Sarreguemines, North East of France, close to the German border. After a fast recovery, he took part to combat in German and Austria.
Born on June 28th 1916 in New York City. M. Gambale joined the US Army in February 1942. As a member of the 134th Infantry Regiment – 35th Infantry Division, he landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, the 5th of July 1944. He attacked Saint Lo on July 11th. In 8 days, 25.000 American heroes lost their life. His unit was heroic when it took under heavy enemy fire the hill 122, which overlooked the city. Then, operation Cobra was launched. The goal was to cut the German defence lines in Normandy. But M. Gambale was badly injured on 27th July and have been evacuated to recover.
Born on May 5th 1917 in San Francisco, California. M. Kosta joined the US Army in July 1943. As a member of the 9th Infantry Division – 47th Infantry Regiment, he landed in Normandy in July 1944. He took part, with a tremendous courage, to the battle of Saint-Lo and to the strategic victory in another key-town in Normandy, Falaise. Then, he engaged in one of the most horrible and deadly fight, the Ardennes battle. Then, on January 30th, his unit crossed the Rhine River to enter Germany. Thanks to M. Kosta, to his bravery and to his comrades, the Germans surrendered in the Harz Mountains in Northern Germany, 200 miles from Berlin.
Born on February 15th 1921 in Santander, in Spain. M. Moruza joined the US Army in 1943. Because he spoke many languages, Spanish, English, French and German, he served in the 970th Counter Intelligence Corps. As special agent, he embarked on a glider with paratroopers of the famous 82nd Airborne Division. On June 6th 1944, D-Day, your glider crashed in the vicinities of Sainte Mere l’Eglise. M. Moruza secretly disappeared in order to contact the French resistance. His mission was to sneak into Paris, still occupied by the Nazis, to wait for the Allied Forces and to confiscate the archives of the Gestapo before they would be destroyed. This was a tremendously dangerous mission. But he did it, with a great success. Thanks to him, justice has been served. Justice has prevailed.
Born on November 12th 1925 in Oakland, California. M. Walden volunteered for the US Navy in November 1942 at age 17 as a doctor. He embarked on the USS Anne Aruhdel and took part to the invasion of Sicilia, Italy, in July 1943. Winston Churchill said that this operation was “a magnificent display of American seamanship”. Then, he joined the 6th Beach Battalion and went to England to prepare the invasion of Europe. His battalion landed on Omaha Beach in the morning of the 6th of June. M. Walden was there, on D-Day. While he was rescuing a comrade, he was badly injured by enemy fire. After a long period of recovery, M. Walden embarked again on a American ship, the USS Rochambeau, which took part in the battle in the Pacific.