Dover (OH). WWII Veteran Jesse Reese awarded France’s highest distinction
On November 20th, Sgt. Jesse Reese, 92, was awarded France’s highest distinction by Consul General of France Guillaume Lacroix. The ceremony took place in Dover, Ohio in the presence of many distinguished guests including OH Representative Al Landis and Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen. Consul General Lacroix was accompanied by Honorary Consul of France in Northern Ohio, Stephen Knerly, also a recipient of the French Legion of Honor.
Sergeant Reese entered into active service in August 1943 at the age of 18. He was assigned to the 337th Bombardment Squadron of the 96th Bomb Group. He was attached to the 8th Air Force. On board B-17 Flying Fortresses where he served as a tail gunner, he participated in a total of 35 combat missions and 7 campaigns: Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, Southern France, the Ardennes, and Central Europe. During the strategic bombardment operations over occupied France, his squadron targeted coastal defenses, railway bridges, road junctions, marshalling yards, submarine pens, airfields and enemy positions in Normandy, Brest, Bordeaux, Mulhouse...
Mr. Reese has received several commendations from the army while defending against enemy fighter attacks, including on December 31st 1944, when his plane was hit over Germany. His aircraft was forced out of formation, becoming a lone target for enemy fighters. Several crew members were wounded and the aircraft was badly damaged. Sergeant Reese successfully repelled enemy fighters from his position as the tail gunner in the rear turret.
Mr. Reese has been awarded prestigious distinctions including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf clusters, and the EAME Theater Ribbon with seven bronze stars.
Dover veteran receives French Legion of Honor - Nov. 21st, 2017 - Times Reporter.