An World War II veteran from Oklahoma City was awarded France's highest honor Saturday for his service toward the liberation of France.
Retired Maj. Gen. Stanley F.H. Newman, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the war, was presented the Medal of Chevalier (Knight) of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor during a ceremony at the home of his daughter, Marsha Greiner.
Newman, 89, was presented the French decoration by Grant Moak, honorary French consul for Oklahoma.
Barbara Thompson, of Oklahoma City, former honorary French consul for Oklahoma and a recipient of the French Legion of Honor, read the citation during the ceremony.
Newman was a P-51 pilot and flew 57 combat missions in Europe during World War II, flying from air bases in France.
He flew air support for the French 1st Army in 1945 and also for the 7th U.S. Army. Newman and his unit also flew air support for Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army when it crossed the Rhine River from France into Germany.
When flying support for the French 1st Army, Newman and other pilots in his unit wore a shoulder patch bearing the emblem of the French Cross of Lorraine.
Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor is France's highest decoration. In the past few years the French government has been awarding it to America's World War II veterans who helped liberate France, Moak said.
Moak told Newman that his generation fought a war, not of conquest, but of liberation. Newman answered that he was really “overwhelmed” by this ceremony.
“I accept this honor on behalf of my friends I flew with. Most of them are gone,” he said.
He also accepted it on behalf of his wife, Harriette, and all of his family, Newman said.
He said his wife, who died in April 2011, is the one who raised their children.