St. Joseph MI | Two heroes of the Greatest Generation awarded France’s highest distinction


On September 2, 2020 in St. Joseph, Michigan, two heroes of the Greatest Generation were awarded France’s highest distinction.

“I’m proud to present the Legion of Honor to Mr. Willis A. Bouma and Mr. Walter Kronbetter for their service during WWII, today in St. Joseph. They are heroes of our two nations,” Guillaume Lacroix, French Consul General to the Midwest.

Both veterans were just 19 years old when they landed in Europe in 1944 and fought to liberate France.

Cpl. Bouma served with the 144th Quartermaster Truck Company. He participated in the Northern France, Alsace-Rhineland campaigns, where he was driving troops and equipment to the front lines.

S/Sgt. Kronbetter served with the 8th Air Force, 448th Bomb Group. He flew 32 combat missions as a top gunner on B-24 Liberator.

Zaneta Adams, Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Algonquin Chapter, representatives of several veterans organizations, families and friends were also in attendance.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday, Sept, 1st, that she has proclaimed Sept. 2, 2020 as ‘Greatest Generation Day’ in Michigan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.



Local WWII veterans honored with French Legion of Honor
By TONY WITTKOWSKI HP Staff Writer Sep 3, 2020
ST. JOSEPH — Cpl. Patrick “Willis” Bouma and Staff Sgt. Clarence “Walter” Kronbetter stood at attention Wednesday when they received the highest honor that France has to offer.


Last modified on 05/11/2020

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