FIVE WORLD WAR II VETERANS TO RECEIVE FRANCE’S HIGHEST HONOR
The Government of France is pleased to announce that the five World War II veterans listed below from Southern California have been approved for the award of The National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight). The award is the highest honor France bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals.
The presentations were made by Mr. Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles, at a private ceremony held on November 22nd at 11:00AM at the Residence of France in Beverly Hills, CA.
Staff Sergeant Arthur J. Mainzer was born March 1923 in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada and moved to Chicago at a young age. He served in France as a cameraman with the 4th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit during five military campaigns and he was part of the first camera crew that filmed the liberation and the atrocities at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in April 1945. His significant decorations include the Air Medal, the EAME Campaign Medal with 6 battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and a commemorative medal honoring the 65th Anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps .Art resides in Agoura Hills, CA and his family with his late French wife Germaine of 45 years, includes daughters Christiane and Claudette.
Staff Sergeant Yoshio C. “Yosh" Nakamura was born June 1925 in Rosemead, California where his family operated a small farm. During World War II he served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and Italy and help break the Gothic Line in very steep terrain during a darkness assault in Italy His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with 3 battle stars. In November 2011 he attended a special ceremony held at the U.S. Capital awarding his 442nd Regimental Combat Team unit the Congressional Gold Medal. Yosh and Grace, his wife of 66 years reside in Whittier, CA and their family includes a daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren.
Technician Fourth Grade Willard B. Hansen was born July 1924 in San Diego, California. After initial training as an Army Air Corps, medical technician he deployed to France as a rifleman replacement in the medical detachment of the 15th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Medic Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with 2 battle stars, the Army of Occupation Medal, and the French Legion of Honor Fourragère. Willard resides in Santa Clarita, CA and his family with his late wife Gloria of 48 years includes son Joe and daughter in law Ginger
Corporal Steven Politis was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in January 1917. He deployed to Europe in May 1944 with the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a radio and radar engineer with the 414th Bomb Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group. He was shot down over Croatia and rescued by friendly partisans who returned him to Italy. His significant decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with 8 Battle Stars, the American Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. . Steven resides in Santa Clarita and his extended family with his late wife Espie of 52 years includes two children and five grandchildren,
Technician Fifth Grade James H. Goble was born May 1921 in Clinton, Indiana. He arrived in France in late June 1944 as a rifleman and truck driver with the 134th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Infantry Division. James was seriously wounded in the Mortain area in August 1944 and recovered to serve in combat again. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with 5 battle stars, and the Prisoner of War Medal. James and his wife Janet reside in Westminster, CA and his family includes two children (one RIP), five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.