OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoman received France’s highest award at the State Capitol Wednesday morning.
James McNiece became a knight of the French government.
He is now a recpient of that nation’s highest award: the Legion of Honour.
For decades, many said McNiece has long deserved this, however he is far too humble to agree with them.
“Well, I’m not a hero. I’m just a survivor,” McNiece said. “The heros are still over there, pushing up daises.”
McNiece spent most of his WWII service as a paratrooper for the 101st Airborne.
Many of the missions he participated in were considered suicide assignments.
The group’s efforts and heroism during the liberation of Europe became so well-known they were called the “Filthy Thirteen.”
Hollywood even based part of the film The Dirty Dozen on Jake and his fellow men.
“Once you get to know him, you know, you really have an appreciation for what he did in WWII, despite what he tells you that he didn’t do and that, ‘I’m not really deserving of this.’ That’s the sign of somebody who really does deserve it,” Andy Van Der Plaatts said, who helped Jake be recognized for the award.
Wednesday’s honor came with a big show from state legislators and government representatives at the Capital.