Sixty-nine years after he distinguished himself in the hedgerows of northern France with the Army’s 13th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division, William T. “Bill” Vaughan Sr. will receive France’s highest decoration – the Legion of Honor.
Consul Pascal Soares of the French consulate in Buffalo will present the award in a ceremony Saturday in Northgate Healthcare Facility, 7264 Nash Road, Wheatfield, where Vaughan and his wife are residents.
A Buffalo native and the youngest of four children in his family, Vaughan was inducted into the Army in July 1943 after he graduated from Lafayette High School.
A medic who was serving unarmed, he was wounded during the Normandy Campaign and received the Purple Heart. Returning to the front, he took part in the Northern France Campaign, the Rhineland Campaign and the Central Europe Campaign.
When he finished his tour of duty in October 1945, he had been awarded a second Purple Heart, the Combat Medical Badge and numerous other honors. He also was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism four times.
Returning from service, Vaughan enrolled in Canisius College and earned a bachelor’s degree, then had a lengthy career in the insurance business. He was an independent insurance agent for 50 years.
He and his wife, the former Joan L. Missert, raised a son and three daughters. They also have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In order to be eligible for the Legion of Honor, veterans must have taken part in one of the three main campaigns in the liberation of France in World War II – Normandy, Provence/Southern France or Northern France.
Soares notes that since the French government does not have records of foreign servicemen who fought in these campaigns, the information must come from their families or fellow soldiers.
Surviving local veterans of the fighting in France, or their families, may contact Soares at 903-7441.