Croix de Guerre Bestowed for Heroic Action

The Red Bulletin • July 14, 1945

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The Red Bulletin • Vol. 1, No. 17 • July 14, 1945 • pp. 1,4.

Croix de Guerre, Nation's Highest Award,
Bestowed for Heroic Action.

TENDA, Italy - France's highest military honor, the coveted Croix de Guerre, has been bestowed upon the 34th Division.

Thus, for the fifth time in history has an American division been so honored. In World War I, the American 1st and 3rd Divisions received the award. The 45th and 88th Divisions share with the 34th distinction of having been the only units in this war to receive the medal.

The presentation was made during a colorful ceremony commemorating the relief of French troops in this picturesque little mountain village by men of the 168th "Rainbow" Regiment. It was attended by high dignitaries of both Armies, including Lt. Gen. Willis D. Crittenberger, Commander of the American IV Corps, Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte, Commander of the 34th Division, Lt. Gen. Paul Doyen, Commander of the French Army Alps Detachment, and Maj. Gen Cazaud, Commander of the French 36th Division.

This highest of French military honors was conferred upon the 34th Division, on behalf of Gen. Charles de Gaulle, in recognition of the outstanding record of the 34th Division during the long fight against the common foe. Seldom conferred upon any division which does not fight under French command, the Croix de Guerre is presented only for action against the Germans. Although there is no comparable award in the American Army, it would rank between a Silver Star and a Distinguished Service Cross.

After affixing the red and green streamer of the order to the Divisional standard, Gen. Doyen awarded individual medals to a number of American and French officers. Gen. Bolte received the Legion of Honor, rank of Officer, and the Croix de Guerre with Palm. France's Gen. Cazaud was presented his nation's highest individual award, the Legion of Honor, rank of Commander.

Other 34th Division officers who received medals were: Lt. Col. Hubert H. DesMarais, Croix de Guerre, rank of Corps; Maj. H. Carl Kait, Croix de Guerre, rank of Division; and 1st Lt. David J. Jones, Croix de Guerre, rank of Brigade.

As the Allied Generals approached the reviewing stand, previous to the ceremony, three pretty signorinas presented them with bouquets of flowers. The 29th Algerian Band opened the program with the playing of the national anthems of both nations. This was followed by an inspection of C Company, 168th Inf., by the Generals. The ceremony was concluded with a parade by French and American troops.

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