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Faulkton World War II veteran to receive highest French honor

Tom Rice who was an Army paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division and part of the WWII D-Day invasion by Allied forces of France to liberate German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control known as Operation Overlord, received the French Legion of Honour from the French government. Photographed at his home in Coronado, California, May 28, 2019. Now 97, on June 5th he'll parachute over France again, part of the 7th anniversary of D-Day. This time he'll do a tandem jump. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
August 11, 2019

A Faulkton man is one of three World War II veterans in South Dakota who will receive the Legion of Honour order of merit, the highest military distinction given by the French government.

Orville B. Lerew, 97, will receive the award in a ceremony at the United Methodist Church, 1011 St. John St., Faulkton, at 11 a.m. Aug. 22, according to a news release from the French Consulate.

The Legion of Honour is given to those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France. It was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Recipients are named in a decree signed by the president.

Lerew is a U.S. Army veteran who was part of the Troop D 87th Calvary, 7th Armored Division in which he was a platoon leader. He was in campaigns in northern France, the Rhineland, the Ardennes and central Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart with one bronze oak leaf cluster, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars, two overseas service bars, the Honorable Service Lapel Button for World War II, the World War II Victory Medal and the expert badge with carbine bar.

Also receiving the French Legion of Honour award are veterans Jimmy J. Traupel, 96, of Mitchell and Kenneth R. Higashi, 97, of Spearfish.

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