French award going to Beaufort man

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - The highest honor given by France is being awarded to a South Carolina World War II vet who died in December.

The Beaufort Gazette reports the Legion of Honor will be bestowed on James Leach during a ceremony next month. The honor had been approved to be awarded before Leach's death. The award was created by Napoleon in 1802.

The award marks Leach's contributions to the liberation of France during World War II.

Leach was a colonel in a tank battalion that fought its way across France after D-Day, liberating villages and towns. He received the Purple Heart five times for injuries and received a Distinguished Service Cross. He died at age 87.

Three other World War II veterans from the Southeast will receive the Legion of Honor during a ceremony in Georgia on Sept. 1.

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