Dunford Awarded French Legion of Honor
While accompanying President Donald Trump to Paris, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford received the French Legion of Honor for "the remarkable role he plays in the security of the world."
French Chief of Defense Gen. Pierre de Villiers presented the award to Dunford in a ceremony at the Ecole Militaire (Military School), which was founded in 1750 and now houses a complex of training facilities.
The Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is France's highest award for military or civilian achievement. Foreign nationals who have served France or upheld the ideals it represents are eligible.
Dunford used the occasion Thursday night to emphasize the close and historic military ties between the U.S. and France.
"As we are standing here, our soldiers are together in West Africa, they are together in Libya, they are together in Syria, they are together in Afghanistan, and we are operating together in the South Pacific," he said.
"The sun doesn't actually set on our relationship. Throughout the world, there are French and Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder doing the job," Dunford said, according to a report from DoD News' Jim Garamone.
"We are still together," said de Villiers, who noted that U.S. troops for the first time on Friday were leading the military parade down the Champs-Elysees for Bastille Day, a French national holiday. The honor for U.S. troops marked the centennial of the 1917 landing of the American Expeditionary Force in France in World War I.
Trump, who attended the Bastille Day parade, said in a statement, "France was instrumental in the United States winning its independence.
"More than a century later, American doughboys repaid the debt. On July 4, 1917, at the tomb of the great French hero [Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette] of the American Revolution, an American army officer [Col. Charles E. Stanton] crystallized his country's gratitude with the immortal words, 'Lafayette, we are here,' " Trump said.
"Ten days later -- exactly one hundred years ago today -- soldiers from the United States Army's First Infantry Division marched down the Champs-Élysées in this very parade. And today, troops from that same storied unit march once again with their French brothers and sisters," Trump said.
The award recognized Dunford for "the remarkable role he plays in the security of the world," and "against armed terrorist groups that shock us with their brutality," de Villiers said.
There have been more than 10,000 American civilian and military recipients of the Legion of Honor. Among them are Army Gens. Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, William Westmoreland and Colin Powell.
The civilian recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt, Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood and Bob Dylan.
Dunford, a former commandant of the Marine Corps, joined a list of former commandants who have received the Legion of Honor, including Gens. Charles C. Krulak, James L. Jones, Michael W. Hagee and James T. Conway.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.
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