WWII Veteran Honored by France

WWII Veteran Honored by France

A WWII veteran, Dr. Ed McAninch, received France’s highest honor: the French Legion of Honor medal.


The Citadel at Bitche

Sons of Bitche

People say the French hate Americans. Not true. They aren’t fond of American leadership, and American thought is a little wacky to them, but there are some Americans that the French honor with deep respect: those who helped liberate them in WWII.

Dr. McAninch was a part of the Army’s 398th Infantry Regiment, the 100th Infantry Division,  during the war. Their actions earned them the nickname, “Sons of Bitche” for their push to Bitche, France, which was near the southern end of the fortifications on the Maginot Line.  France had surrendered and the line fell to the Germans.

McAninch’s unit was the “point.” They broke through German defenses and liberated the town, as well as attacked what was considered a ‘high value target’- a farmhouse under German control near the edge of the town. They earned a Presidential Unit Citation for their valor in that battle.

It is that action, and McAninch’s part in it, that was the reason for the Legion of Honor medal.

Dr. Ed McAninch wears his French Legion of Honor medal. Photo via Amanda Cowan/The Columbian

Wounded in Action

McAninch also received shrapnel in his leg, which took him out of action…but completely changed his life.

“The usual drill is, you dive feet first into the hole. For some reason, I decided I’d better go in head first. So my legs were exposed instead of my head.” Dr. Ed McAninch

When he was drafted in 1944, he was an engineering student. After he recovered from his injury, he used the GI Bill to become a doctor. He established a practice in Camas, Washington, where he worked for 40 years before retiring.

Three other Americans, the  men who took down the terrorist in the French Train attack, also received the French Legion of Honor medal this last year. Do they hate Americans? No. They are not afraid to honor those who save French lives.