Consul General of France presents the Legion of Honor to WWII Veteran Robert Webber of Minnesota
On November 28, 2018, WWII veteran Robert Webber, 95, from Stillwater MN received the French Legion of Honor in recognition for his contribution to the liberation of France during WWII.
The presentation ceremony was held at the VFW Post 23 in Stillwater in the presence of Mayor Ted Kozlowski, State Representative Bob Dettmer, Colonel Donald G. Patton, Retired U.S Army, and Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota, Christina Selander Bouzouina. Mr. Webber was also surrounded by family, friends, and veterans of foreign wars including of WWII.
Pfc. Webber enlisted in the U.S Army in March 1943, at age 19. After completing his training, he was attached to the 1st Battalion, 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team. He was a member of the heavy mortar platoon where he was a mortar man.
On May 17, 1944 he boarded the Santa Rosa and left Virginia for Europe. He arrived in Naples, and fought for weeks in Italy before moving to the French front.
On August 14-15, Operation Dragoon was launched. At around 4:30am Pfc. Webber jumped into Southern France near Le Muy (Var). His first mission was to take the Roque Rousse hill and set mortars to cover approaches from the west of Les Arcs. He fought on the front lines for more than 90 days, including 30 days at Col de Braus, and Sospel in Alpes Maritimes, near the Italian border. On October 25, he was wounded in the face and neck by shrapnel. He was hospitalized and returned to his platoon a few days later. In the late fall 1944, his unit was trucked to Belgium, in order to return to the U.S but Operation Nordwind was launched by the enemy forces. The 517th was reactivated and sent to the Battle of the Bulge. Pfc. Webber was unable to join his unit due to a bout of malaria. He was hospitalized, and would not return to the front. He was honorably discharged from the Army in October 1945.
Stillwater veteran awarded France’s highest military recognition - By Tim Blotz | Fox 9 | November 28, 2018.
A hero of two nations: A Stillwater WWII paratrooper gets France’s highest honor - By Mary Divine | Pioneer Press - November 28, 2018.
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France gives Stillwater WWII veteran its highest honor - Twin Cities | USA Current News | November 28, 2018.
For his bravery during combat, Mr. Webber has received prestigious distinctions including the European-African-Middle-Eastern Service Medal with 4 Campaign Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the American Presidential Citation and the French Croix de Guerre.
In August 2016, Mr. Webber returned for the first time to France for the 72nd Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Southern France and was awarded the 1939-45 Croix de Guerre. He is planning on returning to Le Muy in August 2019 for the 75th Anniversary of his jump.
VFW Post 23 in Stillwater, Minnesota.