John O’Boyle served in the Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland Campaigns and was severely wounded on the Siegfried Line in September 1944
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today presented the Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal to 91-year-old Bemidji veteran John O’Boyle for his service and sacrifice in Western Europe during World War II. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the highest honor that France can bestow to those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France. Former Private First Class O’Boyle served in the Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland campaigns and was severely wounded on the Siegfried Line in September 1944.
“John O’Boyle’s story is one of an ordinary man here in Minnesota who, through his dedication to service, became an extraordinary hero and a symbol of our country’s Greatest Generation,” said Klobuchar. “It was an honor to meet this American hero and present him with this prestigious award to pay tribute to his service.”
John O’Boyle was born in Minneapolis and grew up in both the Twin Cities and on a farm near Hastings. He joined the Merchant Marines in November of 1942 at the age of 20. Later that year, his tanker was sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of Venezuela. He and 37 other survivors were rescued and brought back to the United States.
Private First Class O’Boyle then enlisted in the Army, and became a rifleman in the 28th Infantry Division, the oldest division-sized unit in the Army, that the Germans nicknamed the “Bloody Bucket” division. As a member of the 28th Infantry Division, he deployed to Europe in 1943, and saw combat in the Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland Campaigns.
In September 1944, Private First Class O’Boyle was shot in both legs by a machine gun at the Siegfried Line on the western border of Germany. He has also been presented several prestigious awards, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals.