Md. ex-GI cited by Paris

first in city during war

November 18, 1990

PARIS (AP) - The first American soldier to enter Paris during the liberation in World War II - Roger Provencher, 67, a retired diplomat who lives in Chevy Chase - has received the city's Medal of Honor.

Mr. Provenches was awarded the medal in a ceremony Friday in Paris at the 16th century Hotel de Ville. Calling himself a "simple soldier," he said he was sharing the award with all Allied forces.

As a 21-year-old corporal of the 1st Infantry Division, Mr. Provencher was part of a 12-man Franco-American reconnaissance team that entered the city Aug. 27, 1944, ahead of the main Allied force.

They linked up with Resistance fighters, including Jacques Bellay, who later became an editor of the French edition of Readers' Digest.

Mr. Bellay remembered Mr. Provencher's name and recently proposed to Mayor Jacques Chirac that the ex-GI receive the award.

A native of Manchester, N.H., Mr. Provencher served as a State Department diplomat in Iran, the Soviet Union and many African countries before retiring two years ago.

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