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Feb 02

Jack King – French Legion of Honor

Vets Awarded

Three Southeast Texas Vets to receive France’s highest honor

Three Southeast Texas vets are being honored with the Knight medal of the French Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration awarded for excellent civil or military conduct: Beaumont resident Arlie Ray Horn, 90; Beaumont resident and retired Jefferson County 136th District Court Judge Jack R. King, 91; and 94-year-old Vidor resident Robert L. Jackson.

There will be a ceremony Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. at Fort Sam Houston, MacArthur Field, San Antonio, where the Consulate General of France will award the medals to World War II veterans who helped liberate France.

At the age of 19, Horn was baptized into combat with the 29th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army on bloody Omaha Beach during the battle of D-Day to liberate France and the rest of Europe from German Nazi tyranny. Horn would fight to the end of the war, be wounded three times and survive incredible odds on the front lines.

For his service during World War II, Horn received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.

King was also with the 29th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army on Omaha Beach during D-Day. July 15, 1944, during the Battle of St. Lo, his cranium was fractured and his left side was littered with shrapnel wounds from a German mortar attack. King said he would not be able to attend the San Antonio ceremony.

Jackson served in the United States Air Force as a tail gunner on a B-17. Shot down by the Germans, he was held as a POW for one year until he was freed by U.S. forces. He was awarded a purple heart and will be honored Nov. 14 at the San Antonio ceremony.

The Knight medal of the French Legion of Honour was established May 19, 1802, by Napoleon Bonaparte and is France’s highest decoration primarily awarded to French citizens. The merit is awarded for excellent civil or military conduct.

Sixteen million Americans served during World War II and just a little over 1 million World War II veterans are still living today, according to statistics by the National World War II Museum.

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