Oklahoma WWII Veteran Receives French Award

Wednesday, January 6th 2016, 5:59 pm
By: Karl Torp

An Oklahoman, and member of the greatest generation, is hearing the praise from a thankful nation.

The WWII veteran has a new honor to add to his already long list of military accolades.

Joe Maguire, 92, flew C-47s in and out of France during WWII. He’d arrive with fuel and leave with wounded soldiers, all while trying to avoid enemy fire.

“It made a sale and pepper shaker out of the airplane,” said Maguire about one of his encounters with a German pilot.

Maguire, who grew up in Oklahoma City, survived his close calls and retired as a decorated captain.

“You were just lucky,” said Maguire about his experience.

“You remember your buddies, and that’s kind of bad,” adds the retired pilot while fighting tears.

On Sunday, Maguire received another high honor from another grateful nation: France.

The Legion of Honor award is an infinite show of appreciation for Maguire's role in liberating France from the Nazis.

It was actually created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France.

“I'm one of his knights now,” joked Maguire.

Maguire became eligible for the Legion of Honor by fighting in at least one of three main campaigns on French soil.

“It’s a humbling thing to me to get, but something I can be proud of,” said Maguire.

Maguire's family said they applied to be considered for the honor more than two years ago.