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More than 70 years since the end of World War II, a West Mifflin man has been awarded France’s highest distinction to honor his military service.
Glenn E. Kempf, a life member of West Mifflin's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid, has been named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French Republic. He received the award for his actions as a soldier in the United States Army while serving in Normandy and the Ardennes.
While assigned to the 45th Field Hospital as a medical technician, Kempf landed in Normandy June 7, 1944, on Omaha Beach. He also participated in the Battle of the Bulge later that same year.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express the French Government’s deepest gratitude for your courage,” said Franck Roy, chief of staff to the French ambassador to the United States. “We are forever grateful to the men and women who fought for our freedom and to whom we owe it today.”
Among the other awards and decorations Kempf earned for his military service are the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Kempf is a graduate of the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children. Following his discharge from the Army in December 1945, Kempf worked as a machinist for the Continental Can Company, from where he retired after 30 years of service. An active member of Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin, he has eight grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Kempf has been invited to receive his award during a formal ceremony to be held at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., on April 15, but because of his age and health, VFW Post 914 was requested by his family to try and make arrangements to have his medal presented in West Mifflin.
The French Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802. It is the top decoration bestowed in France. To earn the Legion of Honor as a United States veteran, recipients must have fought in at least one of the three campaigns to liberate France in World War II. The award is not given posthumously.
Originally published March 19, 2016.