PRESQUE ISLE – Pursuant to a direct order from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on behalf of the Republic of France, Christopher Guilhou, Consul General of France, will present to Eugene E. Sawyer of Present Isle, the â€śLegion dâ€™Honneurâ€ť, the highest military order of France, in recognition of the service of Sawyer in the expulsion of German forces from France during World War II. A decoration ceremony is scheduled for 7Â p.m.Â Sunday, Oct. 10 at the Presque Isle Elks Lodge, 508 Main Street in Presque Isle.
Two days after his 19th birthday, on June 18, 1944, Sawyer, as a member of the United States Armyâ€™s 9th Infantry Division, 47th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, went ashore to France at Normandy. As a machine gunner in H Company, Sawyer participated in the Allied forcesâ€™ retaking of the Cherbourg Peninsula of France.
Sawyerâ€™s battalion moved East through France and became embroiled in the infamous â€śhedgerow fightingâ€ť around St. LO, France. It was in the course of a battle there on June 20, 1944, that Sawyerâ€™s company came under direct tank fire. Sawyer, as well as five other occupants of his foxhole, were wounded. Sawyer suffered a shrapnel wound to his left shoulder, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.
Following his hospitalization and recuperation, Sawyer was able to rejoin his same platoon and same company. He was in the first battalion to cross the Rhine River into Germany at the famed bridge at Remagen, after traveling all night on December 16, 1944, to reach the bridge before the German counteroffensive could destroy it. That bridge collapsed under intensive German bombing and shelling on the following day, but was replaced by two pontoon bridges constructed by U.S. Army engineers.
For his gallantry in combat during the European theatre campaign, Sawyer received two Bronze Stars, in addition to the Purple Heart and other awards.
In announcing the decoration ceremony, Ernest Lovely, Presque Isle Elks Exalted Ruler stated, â€śThe Presque Isle Elks are extremely proud of our member Eugene Sawyer. His receipt of this high honor is truly deserved. It is particularly appropriate at this time that honor be given Gene, as a member of the greatest generation of all time.â€ť
Contact Name: Alan Harding
Telephone Number: (207)764-0131