Carl R. Crisp, a New Castle resident and a veteran of the Army Air Corps in World War II, was recently awarded the French Legion of Honor for his service in France during that war.
The French Legion of Honor is an order of distinction first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. It is the highest decoration bestowed in France. Foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may receive a distinction from the Legion of Honor. American veterans who risked their lives during World War II and fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor. Veterans must have fought in one of the four main campaigns of the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence, Ardennes or Northern France.
Carl served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. He flew thirty-five missions as a flight radio operator and gunner, including missions in the Ardennes and other locations. Carl was part of the American forces which fought the Germans and liberated France from the Nazi occupation.
Sixty-five people gathered on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Henry County Historical Society to witness the presentation of the medal to Crisp. Those gathered included an honor guard provided by American Legion Post 137 and VFW Post 1282, a number of veterans from several branches of service and service dates, and local dignitaries including New Castle Mayor Greg York, Henry County commissioners Butch Baker and Kim Cronk, County Councilman Richard Bouslog and State Representative Tom Saunders.
Carl and his wife Rachel were joined by daughters Diane Merki, Debra Bierk, Janna Anderson, and granddaughter Katelyn Bierk for the ceremony. Family and friends traveled from several states to attend.
Henry County Historical Society and Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Edstene said, “It was an honor for us to host this special program today. This ties in perfectly with our mission to bring history to life and life to history for the people of Henry County. I am so pleased to see Carl receive this award and to share his story. He is a true hero.”