Frankfort (KY). Lt. Col. William Pollard, WWII Veteran, Awarded Legion of Honor
and Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin.
On November 19, Consul General of France Guillaume Lacroix presented Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. William F. Pollard, the medal of Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honor for his contribution to the liberation of France during WWII. Mr. Pollard who celebrated his 100th Birthday on September 1st, was part of the first "Phoenix" unit to arrive in Normandy on June 6, 1944.
The ceremony was held at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort. Mr. Pollard was surrounded friends and family, as well as State officials including, Governor Matt Bevin, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. Rick Rand, and U.S. Army Brigadier General (Ret.) Benjamin F. Adams, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mr. Pollard enlisted in the U.S Army in May, 1941 at age 23. After completing his Officer Candidate School, he was attached to the 481st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion in command of the battery “A". He landed at Omaha Beach on June 6th with the first “Phoenix unit”. His first mission was to help establish the Mulberry Harbor, consisting of artificial harbors assembled to facilitate the unloading of supply ships onto beaches immediately after the Allied invasion. While at Omaha Beach, Mr. Pollard and his unit provided defense from the Luftwaffe and German positions, and also pulled bodies from the channel to be placed in temporary graves. On June 15, he was promoted 1st Lieutenant by order of General Eisenhower.
During the war, Mr. Pollard participated in four major campaigns, Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. He fought in Carentan, Saint-Laurent-sur-mer, Caen, Saint-Lô, Saint-Malo, Saint-Brieuc, Brest, and near Paris, where he took several German pilots as prisoner of war. He also fought in Champagne-Ardennes in Vitry-le-François and Saint-Dizier, and in Lorraine near Nancy. He continued fighting in Belgium, and into Germany. He was honorably discharged from the Army in January 1946.
For his bravery during combat, he has received prestigious distinctions including the European-African-Middle-Eastern Service Medal with two Battle Stars, the American Campaign Service Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.
After the war, he made a career in the Army and retired as a Lt. Colonel.
WKYT - 100-year-old WWII veteran awarded French Legion of Honor
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Kentucky Today - 100-year-old WWII veteran awarded French Legion of Honor
ABC News / AP - 100-year-old WWII veteran awarded French Legion of Honor
Washington Post - By Adam Beam?
New York Times