France honors more veterans of Great War

Baltimore man, 100, receives Chevalier Cross

February 20, 1999|By Young Chang | Young Chang,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The government of France honored another local World War I veteran yesterday in its campaign to reach the hundreds of men around the world who are still alive after surviving the Great War.

Baltimore's Herbert W. Bowen, 100, received the Chevalier Cross of the Legion of Honor at the French Embassy in Washington for his service as a member of Company A of the 13th Marine Regiment.

Last month, George Manns, 102, of Baltimore received the medal, the highest national honor of France, at a ceremony in Catonsville.

Bowen was a marksman in the areas of Brest and Bordeaux from September 1918 to August 1919 but said he never saw combat.

Serving in battle is not a prerequisite for receiving the medal, said Betty Nahadil, a retired volunteer from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who is assisting the French Embassy.

French President Jacques Chirac, who met with President Clinton yesterday to discuss peace in Eastern Europe, presented the medals to Bowen and three of the four other World War I veterans being honored: Stanley W. Coolbaugh of Manassas, Va.; Frank W. Buckles of Charleston, Mo.; and Albert Bomea of North Braddock, Pa.

Leroy Hutzler Jr. of Richmond, Va., could not attend for medical reasons.

The veterans are elderly, said Anthony Tranchina, an intern at the embassy, and "it's important that we give these immediately."

Reached this week, Bowen, who will turn 101 next month, said he was in good spirits and great health -- although slightly hard of hearing.

"In fact, I just had a physical examination and the doctor said, `Keep doing what you're doing, because you're in better shape than I am,' " he said laughing.

Pub Date: 2/20/99

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