Salutes & Awards

August 4, 2017
 

France honors two with Legion of Honor Medal

Story and Photos By Kenneth Drylie
1
Master Sgt. Kyle Wells and Pfc. Vernon Fulcher sit with Eric Auger, the Honorary Consul for Southern Nevada, Consul General of France in Los Angeles, at the El Cortz Hotel. Auger presented the duo with the Legion of Honor for their actions in France during WWII

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Two World War II veterans were awarded France’s highest award for valor during a ceremony held at the historic El Cortez hotel on July 22.

U.S. Army Veterans Master Sgt. Lyle Wells and Pfc. Vernon Fulcher were presented with the French Legion of Honor Medal by Eric Auger, a representative for the Consulate General of the French Republic in Los Angeles.

Both veterans were recognized for their contributions to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany in 1944.

Wells served with the 1st Maintenance Platoon of the 581st Engineer Field Maintenance Company and landed on Omaha Beach three days after the initial invasion. He served in Saint-Lo and Cherbourg where he helped build pontoon bridges.

After the war Wells remained in the Army service in a grave registration company. He would travel from town to town, searching for the hasty graves of allied soldiers. The remains would be moved and be reinterred with military honors.

Wells was accompanied on his travels by a Belgium interpreter, Antoinette. He and Antoinette would marry in February 1946.

After leaving Europe, the couple settled in Las Vegas where Wells had a long career in the paving industry.

Fulcher served with the 358th Engineer Service Regiment and helped build pipelines across France to bring fuel to the Allied front lines.

He would later serve in Antwerp, Belgium. His unit, along with units of the British Army worked to rebuild the port and dredge the canals necessary for resupply of the Army.

On Dec. 16, he watched as a German V-2 rocket exploded after striking a movie theater, killing 367 people, including over 100 Americans.

Fulcher assisted in the recovery of the bodies of the victims, the final remains removed from the wreckage six days after the attack.

Fulcher returned to the United States and found work as a mechanic, eventually opening his own transmission shop. He retired after selling the shop in 1993.

The 45-minute ceremony included the national anthems of both the United States and France, guest speakers, patriotic music and concluded with the playing of taps and a moment of silence.

Keynote speaker, Holocaust survivor Stephen Nasser spoke of the importance of recognizing the service and sacrifice of all our military veterans. “Me, as a Holocaust survivor, I would not be here if not for these great people,” he said. “I have to salute the American heroes, past and present, the ones who are alive and the ones who are watching us.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by Cpl. Gabrielle Weaver

Army’s Soldier and Squad Performance Research Institute will increase lethality, resilience

Army photograph by Cpl. Gabrielle Weaver U.S. Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) engage opposing forces in a simulated exercise during Saber Junction 18 at Ho...
 
 
HDWFP2

High Desert Warrior Digital Edition – November 2, 2018

Ft. Irwin High Desert Warrior – Digital Publication serving the National Training Center and Ft. Irwin, CA – Digital Edition November 2, 2018 Welcome to the High Desert Warrior Digital Edition! This month’s digital ed...
 
 
ColorGuard2

Fort Irwin’s Joint Color Guard at World Series

Fort Irwin’s Joint Color Guard helped fans kick off their World Series experience in Los Angeles. Game No. 3 was the longest game in World Series (and post-season) history, with 18 innings over seven hours. Nine members of th...