Ellington Franklin, a Hoover resident and Army Air Corps veteran who helped carry paratroopers into France on D-Day during World War II, is scheduled to receive France’s highest honor on Thursday.
Franklin will join six other World War II veterans from Alabama and Mississippi in being recognized as a Knight of the Legion of Honor at a ceremony at Montgomery’s city hall. The consul general of France based in Atlanta, Denis Barbet, is slated to present the awards at 1:30 p.m.
Others receiving the award are from Homewood, Huntsville, Sheffield, Madison, Mississippi, and Ripley, Mississippi. All but one of them are still alive. One of the soldiers from Mississippi is to be represented by his son.
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor recognizes eminent services to the French Republic. Foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may receive a distinction from the Legion of Honor.
American veterans who risked their lives during World War II and who fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor. Veterans must have fought in one of the four main campaigns of the Liberation of France: Normandy, Provence, Ardennes or northern France.
Franklin served as a radio operator in the 81st Troop Carrier Squadron, and his plane made two trips to Normandy on D-Day. After the invasion of Normandy, he also was on hand for almost every European war effort that required a carrier plane. His planed dropped paratroopers, ammunition, food and other supplies for the invasion of southern France, the invasion of Holland and the Battle of the Bulge, among others.
Sydney Cromwell contributed to this post.