WWII veterans receive Legion of Honor in Denver
Honorary Consul of France in Colorado Mr. Jeffrey Richards, Esq; Col
William Roche, USAF (Ret); Lt Col Melvin Dunn, USAF (Ret); Sergeant
Stanley Bauguess, US Army; Master of Ceremonies Lt Col Robert Johnson,
USAF (Ret); and American Legion Post 209 Adjutant Mr. Larry Johnson
On Thursday, November 29th, Mr. Jeffrey Richards, Esq. Honorary Consul of France Denver (Colorado) bestowed the highest honor with which France honors the American veterans who fought during the World War II, the Legion of Honor, to Colonel William L. Roche, U.S Air Force (Ret), LT Colonel Melvin E. Dunn, U.S Air Force (Ret) et Sergeant Stanley M. Bauguess, U.S. Army.
COLONEL WILLIAM L. ROCHE, USAF (RET) was born in Lexington, Kentucky in November 1924. After graduating from High School in 1940, he was employed at Avon Signal Depot before enlisting in the Army Air Force in June 1943. Following basic training, armament and gunnery school he was deployed to England in November 1944 as a B-17 waist gunner with the 452nd Bomb Group. During this combat tour, he was shot down twice, crash landing in France once and behind Russian lines in Poland following a February 1945 mission to Berlin. He spent several months interned with the Soviet Army in Poland until the war ended. After World War II William attended college, receiving a degree from the University of Kentucky in 1949 and an ROTC commission in the U.S Air Force. He served a distinguished 32+year career in the military including assignments in intelligence, faculty member at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Attaché postings in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, with OLC, the Meritorious Service Medal, with OLC, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and various unit and campaign medals. After military retirement, he worked for the CIA as an independent contractor until 1992. Bill married Geraldine Ferguson in 1951 and their family includes children William, Lawrence, James, and Kathy, along with nine grandchildren. He resides in Colorado Springs.
LT COLONEL MELVIN E. DUNN, USAF (RET) was born in Freemont, Nebraska in August 1923, and spent part of his youth at Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town in Omaha. He joined the Army Air Corps at Wright Patterson Air Base after high school graduation in 1942. . After basic training he completed navigator school and deployed to England in 1943 as a B- 17 navigator with the 525th Bomb Squadron of the 379th Bomb Group. Melvin flew 33 combat missions, including targets in Occupied France, and Germany and several missions in Normandy. On one bombing run into Germany he was the lead squadron navigator of a 1000+ aircraft formation. On mission 27 over Germany his aircraft was heavily damaged and crash-landed near Reims, France with all crew surviving. They were sheltered by the French Maquis, dressed as Frenchmen, and eventually made their way back to England. After World War II Melvin studied at Purdue University and was recalled to active duty in 1947. He remained in the US Air Force during a military career that spanned 24 years until 1966 and included positions in development and testing of guided missiles and new bombers. Lt Col Dunn’s significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal (3OLC), the Air Force Commendation Medal, and five World War II campaign medals. In civilian life Melvin was in the motion picture editing business and taught at North Texas State University. Mel had 3 daughters, Denise, Shelley and Teri, with his first wife Hilda and has a stepson Douglas with his current wife Smiles. Melvin and Smiles call Ridgway and the mountains of Colorado home.
SERGEANT STANLEY M. BAUGUESS was born in Salina, Kansas in April 1924 and graduated from Salina High School in 1942. While in high school, he worked at the Lamer Hotel Drugstore and played on a championship American Legion baseball team. Stan enlisted in the US Army in February 1943 in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. After training at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver he was assigned as a surgical technician with Company D of the 331st Medical Battalion attached to the 106th Division. The unit deployed to England in early November 1944 and later landed at Rouen, France. Stanley served in four European campaigns including Northern France, and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge). He helped patch up many soldiers wounded in battle. After the war ended, he was assigned to the 35th Division in the Army of Occupation overseeing German Prisoners of War including General Hermann Goering. He returned to the U.S. on the H.M.S Queen Mary. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Medical Badge and the Good Conduct Medal. After World War II, Stanley attended Brown Mackie School of Business in Salina, Kansas. He married Rosalee and had three children, Joyce, Carolyn and Harold. He retired from Phil Long Ford in 1986 after 27 years of service and many awards. In 1972 he won a beard-growing contest celebrating the Colorado state Centennial. Stan now resides in Colorado Springs with his current wife, Norma and still enjoys playing racquetball several times a week.