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WWII 'Bulge' vet awarded Legion of Honor

July 21, 2009 at 1:15 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, July 21 (UPI) -- An Indiana World War II veteran says he's honored at age 85 to accept the French Legion of Honor award.

Charles Kemp of Indianapolis was presented with France's highest military citation Monday by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in the governor's office, The Indianapolis Star reported.

"I've been visiting with Charles, and I've had this experience before with other great men of his era -- he's as humble about what he did as he could be," Daniels said. "What is so remarkable about him and people like him is how unremarkable they find their own achievement."

Kemp, a tank battalion sergeant, was among the first wave of troops in Gen. George Patton's Third Army sent into the Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium in a bid to counter a December 1944 German offensive that became known as the Battle of the Bulge, the newspaper said.

"I am truly humbled. I truly am," Kemp said. "One fellow in particular (in the battalion) had five tanks knocked out from underneath of him, and each time he'd go back, and he was wounded very severely the last time. Those are the real heroes, and I was fortunate enough to be picked for this."

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