TOLEDO (AP) — A 96-year-old World II veteran in Ohio has been honored by the French government with its Legion of Honor for helping liberate France from Nazi forces.
Erro Michelson flew as a bombardier in 53 bombing missions over Germany, Poland, Norway and France, The Blade in Toledo reported (http://bit.ly/1vi0pRx). The award from the French government honoring Michelson’s 12 missions over France was presented at a November ceremony at the Toledo assisted living facility where he resides.
“My fellow countrymen will never forget your sacrifice,” M. Graham Paul, consul general of France in Chicago, wrote in a statement accompanying the award. “Their children and grandchildren are as proud of your courageous actions as can be your own children and grandchildren.”
Michelson had received the French Croix de Guerre in 1945. His U.S. medals include the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
“I wanted to be a pilot like everybody else,” he said, adding that his depth perception wasn’t good enough to enable him to be a pilot.
But he said he only needed one eye to look through the sight as a bombardier.
“I just loved flying in that plane,” he said.
The DeKalb, Illinois, native moved to Toledo after the war and later worked as a linotype operator for the Toledo Times and The Blade for 25 years.