McCLURE, Ohio (WTVG) - A McClure Ohio man is an American Hero from WWII and now he's a French Knight. 93-year old Robert Roland is a highly decorated veteran from his service in the European Theatre in 1944. Now he's been awarded the highest honor of France which is a Knight in the French Legion of Honor. The award can only be given by the President of France. Guillaume Lacrois is the Consul General from France and brought the award directly to Roland at the American Legion Hall in McClure.
Roland was surrounded by family and friends as he had the medal pinned to his chest. "It's overwhelming, I can't hardly believe it," said Roland. While Robert is a modest and soft spoken man, his military service speaks volumes. He was drafted right out of high school into the Army in July of 19-43. His squadron flew 195 millions in less than four months over France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. Roland's troop flew 36 of those missions in 19 aircraft. He was the Ball Turret Gunner in B-17 Bombers.
The greatest of Roberts missions was the day after D-Day and his squad attacked the German Army to push them back to protect allied soldiers. "The French Flag would not be flying today. France would no longer exist. So we say thank you America, thank you Robert Roland," said Lacroix.