Jack Baker, a 98-year-old World War II veteran who served with the First Army, received the French Legion on Honor, the country’s highest order of merit for military service, the Ironton Tribune recently reported.
Baker was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, served with the First Army, and took part in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. While serving with the First Army in Europe, Baker fought in multiple battles including Hergan Forest, Aachen and the Battle of the Bulge.
On Aug. 25, 1944, Baker was one of the first service members to enter liberated Paris. Baker was awarded five Bronze Stars for his actions during the war.
Baker was awarded the French Legion of Honor and honored at a public event on Wednesday, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the First Army. Consul General of France in Chicago Guillaume Lacroix presented the award to Baker.
“As we studied Mr. Baker’s war service, it became clear that he had literally been in every place and battle that had defined First Army’s own history in WWII,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, First Army’s Commander. “We’ll never forget what men like Jack Baker did for us.”
Hundreds of people, including family and friends, JROTC and ROTC cadets, Daughters of the American Revolution and several veterans gathered at Olive Hill High School in Kentucky to witness the ceremony.
Baker, while honored to receive the award, said he’s not the one who deserves the award.
“It’s the ones who didn’t make it back that deserve it,” Baker said.
Watch the awards ceremony here: