10 Southern California WWII Veterans Awarded Highest Honor by France

The private ceremony was held at Balboa Park on Tuesday morning

Seven local World War II veterans were among the ten veterans awarded the highest honor by the Government of France on Tuesday.

The National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight) is the highest honor given by France to citizens and foreign nationals.

The private ceremony was held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Among the recipients was Private First Class Raymond L. Deming from San Marcos. Deming has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the EAME Campaign Medal with three battle stars, the Army of Occupation Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

“I was a radio operator with the infantry in the battle of Strasburg. I was associated with the French First Army,” Deming told NBC 7.

Deming said he was so honored to be at the ceremony and thanked the young men and women who serve in the armed forces today.

The following is a list of recipients:

  • Colonel Robert W. Smothers (La Jolla)
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade George “Mike” Welch (Coronado)
  • Second Lieutenant Tony Bezer (san Diego)
  • Technical Sergeant Horace W. Seyster (San Marcos)
  • Colonel Louis C. Gerken (Chula Vista)
  • Captain Freelin "Alan" Carlton (Del Mar)
  • Technical Sergeant William E. Stovall (Santa Ysabel)
  • Sergeant James H. Eshelman (Irvine)
  • Technician Fifth Grade Arnold M. Rotsman (Menifee)
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