It was a rare honor for a local WWII veteran on Monday, or for any war veteran for that matter. Del Casper flew 35-missions over parts war-torn Germany & Europe. He says his plane was hit flying one of those missions, but he wasn't injured. Monday, the French government awarded Casper for protecting their country.
Casper received the French Legion of Honor medal Monday afternoon, about 70 years after his service. It's a first honor of its kind received at the Spokane Vet Center. The French government is awarding U.S. Vets who fought on french land or in french airspace during WWII. A representative of the French government, Jack Cowan was in town for the honor. Airmen Del Casper flew 35-bombing missions in a B-17. He was the ball gunner for 25-missions & operated the bomb doors and dropped the bombs for 10-missions. The award was created by Napoleon back in 1802. Casper says there are more deserving of the honor than him, like the ones who gave their lives. Nonetheless he says he's honored and thankful people are recognizing his service. "Oh yea, I'm proud. I'm flabbergasted. I don't know why I was picked. The french government worries about me more than the US government worries about me. I haven't received any medals or ribbons. They put it on paper, but that's all," Casper told KHQ Monday. You do have to apply for the award, but Casper says he has no idea who contacted the French government about his service. Nonetheless he feels pretty honored.