Grand Valley State University benefactor Ralph W. Hauenstein was officially awarded the French Legion of Honor award on June 8 for his service and extraordinary bravery in liberating France during WWII.
Hauenstein was one of three veterans awarded the high honor by Graham Paul, Consul General of France, in Chicago, Illinois.
“Thanks to their courage, to our American friends and allies, France has been living in peace for the past six decades. We shall never forget,” Paul said.
Hauenstein was reintegrated into the United States forces in December 1940 and served as a Colonel in the Headquarters Company of the Intelligence Branch under the direction of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. From December 1940 to September 1946 he lead intelligence for the Army’s European Theater operations. For his remarkable achievements, the American Government presented him with prestigious awards, in particular, the Legion of Merit.
The Legion of Honor is the highest distinction that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the National Order of the Legion of Honor recognizes eminent service to the French Republic. Recipients of this honor are named by decree signed by the President of the Republic.