‘A Great Honor’: WWII vet receives French Legion of Honor

Published 5:53 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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A decorated World War II veteran from Orange received another honor on Saturday.

Ray Tweedel was honored with the Legion of Honor, the highest French order of merit, on Saturday at the VFW Post 2775 in Orange.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Ray Tweedel served your nation with great distinction,” Consul General of France Valerie Baraban said. “This was meant to reward civilians and soldiers who achieved great things while serving in France. Since its creation, the Legion of Honor has remained the highest, most prestigious decoration in France,” she said.

Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the first councilor of the First French Republic, the Legion of Honor is meant to reward civilians and soldiers who achieved great things while serving in France.

Tweedel was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on Feb. 15, 1925. In 1943, at the age of 18, Tweedel joined the U.S. Army. He trained in Kearns Army Air Base Utah, Kelly Air Base Force in Texas and Santa Ana Army Air Base in California. He then sailed from New York to England and entered Germany.

Tweedel landed in Normandy on June 8, 1944, two days after D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history. He entered combat during the Battle of Normandy as a sharpshooter and a truck driver, where he delivered fuel and supplies, crossing minefields all the way to the front in Chartres, Reims and Metz, France.

During WWII, Tweedel served in combat in France, Belgium and Germany. He transported troops at the Battle of the Bulge near Bastogne, Belgium. In Germany, he assembled a pontoon bridge near Cologne, Germany, in the Rhine River.

After WWII ended, Tweedel returned to Belgium to be sent back to the United States where he was honorably discharged from the military in December 1945.

Tweedel previously has been awarded the American Theater Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal.

“Glad to be here, glad to see all you people,” Tweedel said during Saturday’s ceremony. “It’s a great honor to be here and to see all of you and I appreciate it.”

Tweedel also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in honor of his induction into the French Legion of Honor.

“Your selfless dedication to fighting for the freedom of citizens, not just at home, but around the world, has made our country stronger, safer, and more united,” said Janet J. Brown, who gave Tweedel the certificate on behalf of U.S. Rep. Randy Weber.

This article was written by Brian Quijada.