Centerville (IA), WWII Veteran Ed Bellendier awarded the French Legion of Honor

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October 26, Consul General Guillaume Lacroix awarded the French Legion of Honor to Edward Bellendier for his heroic actions during WWII. The presentation ceremony took place in Centerville, Iowa, in the presence of Mayor Michael O’Connor, State public officials, Veterans Affairs representatives, veterans, family and friends. Consul General Lacroix was accompanied by Mark Schlenker, Honorary Consul of France in Iowa.

Private Bellendier was inducted into the U.S army in November 1943. He was 18 years old.

He was assigned to the 328th Regiment of the 26th Division, also known as the Yankee Division where he served as a combat infantry rifleman.

From September 1944 until March 1945, he participated in the campaigns of Normandy and Northern France.

He left the U.S on August 26th and landed at Utah Beach on September 7th. His regiment was based in the town of Valognes in Normandy. A short distance from the strategic port of Cherbourg. Early October, the 26th Division was ordered from Normandy to General Patton’s Third Army front in Lorraine in north-eastern France. For weeks, Mr. Bellendier’s regiment cleared up forests (Moncourt, Bride) and fought to capture villages (Bezange la Petite, Vic sur Seille, Guinzeling, Wuisse, Vittersbourg). On November 27, as his regiment was getting ready to launch an assault on the village of Honskirch, the last line before the Saar River, Mr. Bellendier was shot in the chest. He had to be evacuated to England to be hospitalized before returning to the United States. He was discharged from the US army in June 1945 as a disabled veteran.

Mr. Bellendier has received prestigious distinctions including: the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the European-African-Middle-Eastern Theater Service Medal with two bronze stars,

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Watch the video of the ceremony on Facebook

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Read more:

Vet receives France’s highest honor Centerville veteran had been shot while fighting in France
By Kyle Ocker - Daily Iowegian -October 27, 2018
In France, there is no higher military or civilian award than the Legion of Honor. On Friday, it was an American World War II veteran and Centerville resident Edward Bellendier who was pinned with the award.

Representatives from the American and France governments were on hand for an overwhelmingly patriotic display for a member of America’s greatest generation.

Guillaume Lacroix, Consul General of France in Chicago, made note of the similarities between the Iowa and France flags, and also the French-style name of this American soldier. But once the joking was aside, Lacroix gave the greatest gratitude to America’s involvement in War World II, which helped liberate France in 1944.

Ed Bellendier was in France in 1944, wounded during a fight in November that year.

World War II vet honored by France
Daily Iowegian - Jun 10, 2018

Edward Bellendier does not have too much to say about his time as a soldier during World War II.

“It was a real experience,” said Ed, not elaborating on his time overseas. Most people would likely consider that an understatement.

Recently Ed was honored for that understated service by the French government. He is now a Chevalier or Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honor. Created by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802, the legion is the highest order of merit in France and can be presented to members of the military and civilians.

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Last modified on 29/10/2018

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