HOUSTON -- In a generation defined by modesty, Jack Dulworth is more modest than most.
“I didn’t volunteer for it, but I accepted it,” said Dulworth. “It was just part of life at the time as a young man.”
Several months after the Normandy Invasion, an 18-year-old Dulworth found himself crossing the English Channel into France.
“Eighteen year olds are really not afraid of anything,” said Dulworth, “so really, I don’t look back on it as a big fear. I was just there.”
Once there, he was quickly schooled in the basics of combat.
“I went on a lot of patrols and fired and men, and they fired at us,” said Dulworth. “If they zeroed in on an automatic weapon, they’d kill you, so I would fire and run and fire and run. That’s about all I remember is shooting and running, and I could run fast.”
He wasn’t fast enough, however, to escape the explosion of a grenade, which earned him a headline in the hometown paper and a Purple Heart. Now, just as he’s about to turn 87, Dulworth is receiving another medal.
“It’s France’s highest award,” said Marie-Laure Reed of the French Consulate in Houston.
It’s the Legion of Honor recognizing extreme merit. It’s being awarded to all WWII veterans who fought on French soil as a show of appreciation for their sacrifice.
“For a guy in the middle of Texas or Oklahoma to leave everything he had to fight in a country he didn’t know, was amazing,” said Reed.
Dulworth is among 15 such veterans from the region being recognized during a ceremony at Ellington Field on February 1.
“It’s a nice honor to have,” said Dulworth. “I don’t think I really deserve it.”
After all, he says, he was just there.