The Norman Transcript

Headlines

March 30, 2013

France bestows Legion of Honor award to Norman man for bravery in WWII

NORMAN — It was almost 70 years in the making but Col. (Ret) Woodrow Wiltse got a thank-you present Thursday afternoon.

The Republic of France bestowed its Legion of Honor award to the 95-year-old Norman resident who, as a young artillery officer, participated in some of Europe’s most fierce fighting during World War II.

The award was presented Thursday inside a packed dining room at Legend’s Restaurant by Grant Moak, honorary consul of the Republic of France. Wiltse’s family and friends gave him a standing ovation.

“When I was a young lieutenant I sure didn’t think all of this was going to come to pass,” Wiltse joked after Moak pinned the medal to the colonel’s lapel.

Moak, who will present three of the awards this year, said the Legion of Honor is the highest commendation presented by the French government.

The award was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

Moak said Wiltse fought a war, not of conquest, but of liberation.

“I’m very pleased to say France is making an effort to honor those brave Americans that put their lives on the line in World War II,” Moak said. “All of us in my generation owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. You truly changed the world.”

Wiltse also received commendations from state Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, and Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman. Wiltse also will be honored by legislators next week. A commendation from Gov. Mary Fallin was presented by Barbara Thompson, Doak’s predecessor in the consul post.

Wiltse, a Michigan native, graduated from Michigan State University in 1942 and completed Officer Candidate School in 1943. He was commissioned in the Field Artillery and deployed to England. He served in the 310th Artillery Battalion which was a Direct Support Battalion of the 313th Infantry Regiment. He participated in the largest invasion in modern history, Operation Overlord, entering on Utah Beach in June of 1944, climbing the Cotentin peninsula and capturing Cherbourg.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is Okla. backing off accountability?

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal....

    April 19, 2014

  • Hope Trunk travels to Norman

    The rustle of paper could be heard as students meticulously folded one crane, then another and another Friday afternoon. After reading the inspiring story, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” Cleveland Elementary School fifth graders ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Gaylord to get $35,000 grant for poverty project

    A team from Gaylord College is among the first winners in a national competition to fund innovative news experiments that serve communities, the Online News Association has announced....

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew set

    A garage sale to benefit Team Jamie’s Crew will start at 9 a.m. today at 1510 Melrose Drive....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Singing Sooners show set

    The University of Oklahoma School of Music presents the Singing Sooners Spring Show at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25 in the Sharp Concert Hall, Catlett Music Center. Jim Graves and Stephen Ziegler serve as directors for the group....

    April 19, 2014

  • Study: Half of jailed youths have injury

    NEW YORK — About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of ...

    April 19, 2014