US WWII Veterans receive the French Legion of Honor in Tyler, TX
On August 29, Austeen V. “Chuck” Bice, 93, and Homer C. Garrett, 92 were presented with France’s highest distinction as they were inducted into the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honor) for their service in the liberation of France during the second World War. Sujiro Seam, Consul General of France in Houston, presented them with the medal of Knight in the order of the Legion of Honor.
About 50 people attended the ceremony which was conducted at the Watkins-Logan Texas State Veterans Home in Tyler, Texas . The smiles on the Veterans’ faces were unending and their pride was glowing! Their families showed up in vast numbers making lifelong memories of this event.
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- Sujiro Seam, Consul General of France with Austeen (Chuck) Bice.
Austeen (Chuck) BICE served in the United States Army from 1943 until 1945. Following training in Oregon, he arrived in England with the 300th Combat Engineer Battalion in December 1943 and prepared for the invasion of France. On June 10, 1944 his landing craft reached Omaha Beach. His battalion fought with the 101st and 82nd Airborne during combat operations throughout Normandy, laying minefields, removing explosives and fighting in the hedgerows.
He saw action in Saint-Clair-sur-l’Elle, Sainte Mère l’Eglise and Saint-Lô.
Near Carentan, under heavy artillery fire and in spite of numerous casualties, his unit erected the first allied forces bridge, named after Company Commander Major John Tucker, who lost his life during the operation.
After Northern France and Belgium, he reached Germany where his unit also became known for building the last bridge of the war, over the river Isar, near Mossberg.
For his service during WWII in Europe, Mr. Bice received numerous citations including 5 Battle Stars.
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- Sujiro Seam, Consul General of France, with Homer Garrett
At age 19, Homer Garrett enlisted in the United States Army where he served from 1943 until 1945. Following training in Oregon, he was also deployed to England with the 300th Combat Engineer Battalion in December 1943 and prepared for the invasion of France. On June 19, 1944 his landing craft, LST 523, was approaching Utah Beach when it struck an underwater mine and sunk within minutes. Out of 201 soldiers and 145 sailors aboard, over 200 lost their lives… He sustained multiple fractures and severe shrapnel wounds. He was rescued by lifeboat and spent many months recovering in various hospitals, first in Oxford then back in the US. He was awarded the Purple Heart and was honorably discharged in April 1945.
Media coverage of the ceremony: