Sen. Menendez Honors NJ WWII Veteran; Delivers 9 Long Overdue Distinguished Service Medals

Sen. Menendez Honors NJ WWII Veteran; Delivers 9 Long Overdue Distinguished Service Medals

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today honored 97-year-old Francis MacNair with nine medals for his distinguished service in World War II, which he had never received. MacNair was accompanied by his wife, Alice, and friends at the South Plainfield American Legion Post #243 for the ceremony.

"Mr. MacNair fought for this country as a young man on D-Day where, as part of a glider operation, he was one of the first troops to land in France where he worked with the Special Services Forces," said Sen. Menendez. "And now, at age 97, we have a chance to make things right and honor him with the nine medals he earned-nine medals he should have been awarded-years ago. I'm extremely honored to present Francis-one of America's Greatest Generation-with the nine medals he so richly earned for his service in World War II. On behalf of all of the people of New Jersey and every American, I offer the thanks of a grateful nation."

Sen. Menendez presented Francis with the following medals: the Army Good Conduct Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars and Bronze Arrowhead; the World War II Victory Medal; the Army of Occupation medal with Germany Clasp; the Meritorious Unit Commendation; the Glider Badge; and the Honorable Service Lapel Button for Service to America in World War II.

Sen. Menendez, whose office requested an investigation by Army officials into the medals, also announced that official Army records will now accurately reflect MacNair's service and honors.

Francis was one of the first volunteers from South Plainfield to enlist in the Army. On January 14, 1941, he joined the Medical Regiment where he became a medic and an ambulance driver. Before being shipped overseas to North Africa, he was given permission to come home to New Jersey to marry his wife, Alice. He was separated from the Army in 1945-without any of his medals.

In reflecting on MacNair's service, Sen. Menendez said: "He earned them at a time-before computer guided missiles, fancy technology, lightweight equipment, and smart bombs...before jet engines, RPGs, and unmanned drones-when war was waged with little more than the grit and determination of the men who fought it-young men like Francis who had a lot of guts and a mission they believed in."