Local World War II veteran receives French honor
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Rancho Bernardan Glenn Fuller has received France’s highest honor for a foreign national due to his service in World War II.
Fuller, who turned 87 the day after the ceremony last month in Los Angeles, received the National Order of the Legion of Honor in the rank of chevalier (knight). He was one of 11 veterans living in Southern California or Arizona to receive the award, presented by David Martinon, consul general of France.
“It’s sort of an honor,” Fuller said, adding his wife, Nancy, and friends have started calling him “sir” due to the award. “It’s nice to be recognized (by France) for what I did,” he said.
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” he added.
The Legion of Honor is a French order that was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. It has five degrees, which start at chevalier.
Fuller said he learned of the award from friends, who encouraged him to apply. It took two years for his application to be approved.
He said award criteria included being among those who helped liberate France during the war. Fuller was sent to Europe in 1944 at the age of 19 as part of the U.S. Army 291st Infantry Regiment attached to the 75th Infantry Division. His duties included minesweeping and demolition work in Belgium and France, which were among combat areas during the Battle of the Bulge (Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 25, 1945).
The Ohio native said he enlisted along with his friends in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a 17-year-old following high school graduation in 1943, but he was not called to enter basic training until January 1944. By then, he was reassigned to the 106th Infantry Division. He would have been serving with that division, decimated during the Battle of the Bulge, had it not been for a new congressional bill that did not allow 18-year-olds to be sent overseas, he said. So he had to wait another several months and was sent after his 19th birthday.
Among campaign medals and other awards Fuller received for his wartime service were the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal with three battle stars.
Following his 1946 discharge, Fuller continued his education at Kent State University, where he graduated in 1950. He worked in houseware industries, including at Bissell Inc., where he was its Western Division sales manager for 32 years.
Fuller and his wife of 39 years moved to the Seven Oaks neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo four years ago. They previously lived in Palm Desert, Calif.
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