Albuquerque veteran Stan E. White, a Pearl Harbor survivor who was injured during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, will be awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, according to Perry Bendicksen, Honorary French Consul for New Mexico.
The Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
Originally recognizing military or civil service by the French, it has been expanded to honor contributions by non-French people, including soldiers who risked their lives to help liberate France during World War II.
White was an enlisted Army machine gunner on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Though he fired at the incoming Japanese planes, White told the Journal in a 2011 interview that he was never certain whether he downed any of them.
After attending officer candidate school, White became a platoon leader for an infantry unit that landed on Normandy’s Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, under withering German fire.
After landing on the beach, White directed tank fire at a German machine gun position that was raking the beach before being wounded by an exploding artillery shell. White later served in Korea. He has received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his military service. France has previously awarded White the Médaille de la France Libérée and the Croix de Guerre for his service in the liberation of France.
After leaving the military, White taught school in Alabama and Texas before retiring.
He is a former president of the New Mexico Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
White will receive the Legion of Honor at 2 p.m. Monday at St. Theresa Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 7900 Constitution NE.