Novi (MI). WWII Veteran Harold W. Ortwine awarded the French Legion of Honor
On August 16, 2018, Consul General General of France Guillaume Lacroix presented the French Legion of Honor medal to WWII Veteran Harold W. Ortwine during a ceremony held at Novi City Hall in the presence of U.S Congressman Dave Trott, State Representative Kathy Crawford, Brigadier General Carol Ann Fausone and Honorary Consul of France in Michigan Jean Mallebay-Vacqueur.
with the Color Guards of the Oakland County Sherrif’s Department
Corporal Ortwine entered into active service in March 1943 at the age of 19. He was assigned to the 592nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 106th Division, the “Golden Lion” Division, where he served as an ammunition handler. From November 1944 until August 1945, he participated in four major campaigns: Northern France, the Ardennes, the Rhineland, and Central Europe.
He landed in Le Havre, France, the first week of December and was soon deployed in Belgium near the borders of Luxembourg and Germany in the St. Vith sector. On December 16, combat started. The Germans had launched the Ardennes counter-offensive. His Division was hit very hard, and was almost annihilated the first week of battle. Mr. Ortwine fought for weeks before crossing back into France on March 15. St. Quentin, Reims, Saint-Avold... are some of the cities he stayed in before crossing the Rhine to enter Germany in April 1945. Mr. Ortwine was also deployed in St. Nazaire and Lorient where he witnessed the devastation of the war. These ports were among the largest fortified U-boat pens built by the Third Reich in France, and centers of resistance by the occupying forces until the very end of the war.
For his valorous conduct in action, Mr. Ortwine has received prestigious distinctions including: the European-African-Middle-Eastern Theater Service Medal with four bronze stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and the American Service Medal.