Remise des insignes de chevalier de la Légion d’honneur à Mr Emil Reich, vétéran de l’armée américaine [en]

Le Consul général de France à San Francisco, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, a remis lors d’une cérémonie solennelle à Boise (Idaho), les insignes de chevalier de la Légion d’honneur au vétéran américain Emil Reich, pour sa participation à la libération de la France lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Media Coverage :

Technician fifth grade Emil Reich has been bestowed by French Consul General in San Francisco, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, to the rank of Chevalier in the Legion of Honour for his service during World War II, where he served with the Antitank Gun Crewman 610 division. By ship, he and hundreds of other servicemen traveled to France and on June 6th, invaded the beach landings in Normandy.

The ceremony took place on the second floor rotunda of the Idaho State Capitol building - Boise - on February 22nd, 2019, along with Mr. Emil Reich’s family and close relatives, French Honorary Consul Mrs. Hortense Everett, Former French Honorary Consul Ms. Gabrielle Applequist, Congressman Russ Fulcher Representative Jake Ellis, Colonel Brit Vanshur Director of Staff of the Idaho National Guard, Marv Hagedorn Chief Administrator of Veteran Services, The Idaho National Guard Honor Guard, 25th Army Band, Chief of Staff of the Idaho National Guard COL Tom Rasmussen and Louis Hougaard Policy Advisor, Governor Brad Little.

Emil Reich’s Biography

Emil Reich was the fourth of fourteen children. Born in Wishek, North Dakota he was drafted into the army in 1941 at the age of twenty-one. He received his basic training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, as well as training in California and Texas before traveling overseas.

Emil served with the Antitank Gun Crewman 610 division where he was charged with operating self-propelled and towed antitank gun. Fluent in German, he was called on many times to travel with higher ranking officers to speak to the native people prior to troops approaching the town. “At the time, I asked my officers why we have to go in first with only a rifle and a truck, when we have an army of men that can accompany us ? ” “But speaking to with the wonderful people of Germany and France, I learned that these individuals were so happy to have us (Americans) in their town.” I remember these innocent people so devastated by the war, but so grateful for our presence and our service.”

By ship, he and hundreds of other servicemen traveled to France and on June 6th, invaded the beach landings in Normandy. Emil was wounded on two separate occasions and spent time away from his division in a Paris hospital. After a two-week recovery, he was rejoined with his unit.

Emil continued on to fight in the Ardennes and Rhine region and participated in the famous Battle of the Bulge. After the end of World War II, he spent time once again, serving as an interpreter at army camps housing German soldiers and returned in the early part of 1946 to the United States.

Emil married Virginia Creek in 1956 and they raised four children. He resides in Boise, Idaho and recently celebrated his ninety ninth birthday.

The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon in 1802. It is the highest distinction awarded by France, and only a few medals are issued each year. Applications are thoroughly reviewed and considered and due to the nature of this distinction the process can take several years. The French consulate in San Francisco is pleased that Emil Reich met all the requirements. His application included a very detailed Honorable Discharge after his participation in the “Normandy” liberation campaign and Emil was recognized last October by newly appointed French President Emmanuel Macron.

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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco
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©French Consulate in San Francisco

Dernière modification : 05/03/2019

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