American Heroes - Preserving WWII History
                                                        Honored at last 
                           Legion of Honor medal  arrives too late for veteran to see it 
                           By Becky DirksHaugsted Anamosa Journal-Eureka ANAMOSA  
                           Published on this site by permission of the Anamosa Journal-Eureka    

     Imagine being inside a vehicle taking you to war and hearing bullets strike the ramps that had yet to be lowered. Already weakened from seasickness, you still had to wade to shore then cover another 200 yards of open beach until reaching your objective beyond the seawall.     That was the scenario faced by Robert Laurence “Bob” Davis as a young first lieutenant with the 29th Infantry Division as an artillery forward observer landing on Omaha Beach in France on D-Day in June 1944. He had just had his 22nd birthday less than a month before.     To these brave men, nearly 70 years later, France awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal.     Just last week, Mulford received the letter that her father had been awarded France’s highest distinction.     Davis never learned he received the prestigious award. He died Sunday, Dec. 30. The letter notifying Davis that he had been appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor was signed on Dec. 31.     Davis and his daughter, Nancy Mulford, had seen a notice in the “Twenty-Niner Newsletter” that veterans of World War II who served in one of the four major campaigns in the liberation of France were eligible for the French Legion of Honor Medal. The campaigns included Normandy, Southern France, Northern France and the Ardennes.     Mulford encouraged her father to apply for the honor in April 2012, knowing the process would take several months.     Proof had to be submitted that Davis served in France. His military separation record and other decorations earned while serving in France, were submitted. Davis’ military honors included the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, and the Purple Heart.     In the letter accompanying the award French Consul General Graham Paul wrote, “Through this award, the French government pays tribute to the soldiers who did so much for France and Western Europe. More than 65 years ago, you gave your youth to France and the French people.”     Davis served in the Army during World War II From October 1942 until November 1945. He earned his two Bronze Stars in July 1944 and in October 1944. His Purple Heart was earned at the same time as his first Bronze Star in July 1944. Davis also earned the American Defense Medal and the World War II Victory Medal     Like many others, when he returned home, Davis married his sweetheart, Dorothy Klaus, in 1946.  They had two children, Nancy and Steven.     “It is hard for me to picture my father in war,” Mulford said. “He was always a gentleman to us.”     Bob farmed, operated a farm store in Colesburg, managed a fertilizer plant in Mechanicsville and later worked in the bank.  Retirement took them to Mount Vernon for a number of years, then to Cedar Rapids and, in recent years, to Anamosa.     Bob and Dorothy loved to travel and in 1991, retraced his journey through France after the D-Day landing.     In October 2011, Davis was thrilled to go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., with fellow World War II veteran John Parham Sr. and his son-in-law Dennis Mulford as guardian.     “Even though he might not have said too much, he would have been real pleased.” Mulford said about her father getting the award. “It is a wonderful acknowledgement of his service.” ----------------------------

  W. James Johnson Publisher Anamosa Journal-Eureka 405 E. Main St. Anamosa, IA 52205 
  (319) 462-3511