SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — France awarded its highest honor to a World War II veteran in Utah for his service and contributions to France during the war.
Honorary French consul Marie-Hélène Glon awarded the French Legion of Honor to 90-year-old Dean C. Larson at the state Capitol Thursday afternoon.
Gov. Gary Herbert and state Veterans and Military Affairs director Gary Harter spoke at the event.
The governor's office says Larson was wounded on his fifteenth mission to Bordeaux, France while operating a ball turret for a U.S. Army Air Corp. B-17 bomber crew.
"I thought we had an easy job. I was suddenly surprised with shot to my leg," Larson said. He was hit by German shrapnel.
"I was grounded for a month before I could fly again," he said.
Larson, who lives in Ogden with his wife, flew 33 combat missions, including two bombing missions to the Normandy coast on D-Day.
"Dean's service changed the tide of human history and deepened the bonds between France and America," said Marie-Helene Glon, Honorary Consul of France in Utah.
"There are many of my fellow military men that could qualify for this, but I was lucky enough to ge the medal," Larson said.
France recognizes a small number of American veterans with the award every year.
Contributing: Jed Boal
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