Ten WWII veterans receive the Legion of Honor [fr]

The Consulate General of France in Los Angeles is pleased to announce that the President of the French Republic has bestowed The National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight) to World War II veterans in recognition of their heroic actions and precious contribution to the liberation of France during the war.

The medals were bestowed by M. Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles during a ceremony at the Los Angeles National Cemetery on September 19th 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.


First Lieutenant Sterling D. Ditchey, U.S. Army Air Corps, was born in Orange, California in April 1923. He served as a B-25 Bombardier with the 380th Bomb Squadron of the 310th Bomb Group and flew 70 combat missions. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, ten Air Medals, the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. Sterling and his wife of 72 years, Cleola, reside in Thousand Oaks, California.

Master Sergeant Ignacio H. Sanchez, U.S. Air Force (Ret), was born in November 1922 in El Paso, Texas. He flew 35 combat missions as a B-17 ball turret gunner with the 422nd Bomb Squadron of the 305th Bomb Group. He stayed in the U.S. Air Force after World War II and retired as a KC-135 Tanker Boom Operator. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals, the EAME Campaign Medal with five battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. Ignacio resides in Buena Park, California with his wife Mercy of 72 years.

Staff Sergeant Laurence R. Stevens, U.S. Army Air Force, was born in July 1924 in Alhambra, California. He served as a B-17 tail gunner with the 412th Bomb Squadron of the 95th Bomb Group and flew 35 combat missions. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, six Air Medals, the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. Laurence resides in Temple City, California with his wife Henrietta. They have been married for 67 years.

Technical Sergeant Gaidzog "Guy" Chookoorian, U.S. Army Air Corps, was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in November 1923. He flew 32 combat missions as a B-17 gunner-radio operator with the 331st Bomb Squadron of the 94th Bomb Group. His significant decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with four battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. Guy and his wife, Louise, have been married for 66 years and live in Granada Hills, California.

Sergeant John Young, U.S. Army Air Corps, was born in Los Angeles, California in May 1923. He served as a B-17 gunner with the 367th Bomb Squadron of the 306th Bomb Group and completed 16 combat missions. His significant decorations include two Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. John and his late wife Kiyoko (Kay) were married for 64 years and he resides in San Gabriel, California.

Technician Fourth Grade Walter E. Easley, U.S. Army, was born in July 1924 in Crosses, Arkansas. He served as an infantryman with the 79th Infantry Division and later with the 4569th Quartermaster Service Battalion after suffering a severe concussion. His significant decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with one battle star, the World War II Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal. Walter and his late wife Eileen were married for 69 years and he resides in Bakersfield, California.

Corporal Artis C. West, U.S. Marine Corps, was born in Elkhorn, West Virginia in January 1927. He served as an Able Bodied Seaman on U.S. Army Transport Service Hospital Ships and after World War II served in the U.S. Coast Guard for one year and the U.S. Marine Corps until 1951. His decorations include the Good Conduct Medal. Artis resides in Torrance, California with his wife Moyies of 66 years.

Private First Class Richard L. Melton, U.S. Army, was born in Los Angeles, California in March 1925 and served with the 274th Infantry Regiment of the 70th Infantry Division. He was wounded in France in January 1945. His significant decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the EAME Campaign Medal with two battle stars. Richard and his late wife Cynthia were married for 62 years and he resides in Woodland Hills, California.

Private First Class Samuel Schultz, U.S. Army, was born in November 1923 in Brooklyn New York and served with the 385th Anti Aircraft Separate Battalion. His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with four battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal. Samuel resides in Van Nuys, California and he was married to his late wife Ruth for 72 years.

Private Henry L. Ochsner, U.S. Army, was born in Hellgate, Montana in February 1923. He landed on D-Day with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and was later at the heroic stand at Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. His significant decorations include the French Croix de Guerre, the Belgian Fourragère, the Presidential Unit Citation and the EAME Campaign Medal with four battle stars. Henry resides in California City, California with his wife of 70 years, Violet.

Last modified on 19/09/2017

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