Frank Magrino had tried to enlist - his eyesight was too poor. But by 1943, the Army was calling his number in spite of its previous rejection.
"They finally got down to where they needed me," Magrino said. He was 19 years old. He landed on Utah Beach in August 1944, and he was put in a replacement depot near St. Lo, France, he said.
Afterward, he was transferred to England, then to Brussels, doing administrative work. He requested to return to active duty, and joined the 8th Infantry Division, 12th Engineer Battalion on Jan. 1, 1945, in the Hürtgen Forest in Germany, he said. They crossed the Roer River under fire at Düren, Germany, he said, proceeding to Cologne and Remagen, a month or so after the bridge there had been captured. In Schwerin, Germany, his outfit met the Russians, he said.
Magrino is a 27-year member of The American Legion, and recently received the Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal from France, the country's highest military honor. He found out he was eligible, as are all American World War II veterans who served in France, and he sent off for it. About 70 years after Magrino served his duty, he received a certificate and the medal in the mail.
"I thought it was a great honor to receive something like this. ... I'm really excited. I showed it up at the post, and they thought it was great," Magrino said.