MO Statehouse
5:58 pm
Tue December 7, 2010

Another Mo. WWII vet awarded France's Legion of Honor medal

 The French government has recognized another veteran from Missouri for helping to liberate that country during World War Two.

Perry Coy, 86, of Jefferson City was given the Legion of Honor medal today by Governor Jay Nixon at a ceremony at the State Capitol.

Coy was one of thousands of U.S. soldiers who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.

"The LST boats, the Navy boys, dropped us off in the (English) Channel over our heads," Coy told the audience during the ceremony. "I couldn't get to shore with (a) 90-pound field pack and gun and ammunition...I had to unbuckle, and I got onto shore and I picked up equipment along the way from others that wasn't as fortunate as I had been so far."

Coy earned three Purple Hearts for being wounded during the course of the war. He also received a Bronze Star for rescuing a wounded medic, and a Silver Star for capturing more than a dozen German soldiers who were firing mortar rounds on U.S. troops.

"We did it through small arms fire and rifle grenades and courage, I guess." When asked if his prisoners behaved themselves, Coy replied: "They had to, because we disarmed them."

Coy says the real heroes, though, were the ones who didn't get to come home from the war.

Back in September, Missouri resident Gilbert Pritzel was also awarded the Legion of Honor for his actions in southern France in 1944.