Batavia (IL). WWII Veteran Howard Keskitalo receives the French Legion of Honor
Batavia (IL). On September 20th, WWII veteran from Batavia IL Howard O. Keskitalo was presented the French Legion of Honor for his service during the war. The medal was presented by Deputy Consul General of France Frédéric Cholé in the presence of Erica Jeffries, Director of the The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Harry Sawyer, Assistant Director.
First Lieutenant Keskitalo, enlisted in the army Air Corps in 1943 at age 23, and entered active during in February 1944. From May until November 1944, he participated in 4 major campaigns, Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France and the Rhineland. He was assigned to the 388th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force where he was a navigator on B-17 Flying Fortresses.
Mr. Keskitalo, completed 35 missions. Before June 6, 1944, he flew several tactical missions over France against enemy installations; and it is your group, the 388th, that led the entire 8th Air Force on D-Day. On that day, he struck coastal guns, field batteries, and transportation. In July and August, he bombed the strategic cities of Saint Lô and Caen. Mr. Keskitalo, and his group were also instrumental in organizing three missions in aid of the Free French Forces and in supporting ground forces as they advanced across France.
For his actions during the war, he has received prestigious awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters.
France Will Never Forget
Watch CBS 2 NewsFrance Thanks WW II Veteran In Batavia Chicago - September 20, 2017 5:21 PM By Vince Gerasole
Chicago Tribune - Column/video: Batavia World War II vet gets French Legion of Honor
Kane County Chronicle - Batavia WWII navigator knighted by French government