SAN DIEGO, Calif. –
An exciting day for 91-year-old WWII veteran Rudy Villalobs of Calexico.
He was given the French Legion of Honor Medal at the Air & Space Museum in San Diego.
“At this age with this honor, it’s just wonderful. It’s just great to be alive,” Villalobos said.
Fourteen WWII veterans were honored and it took about a year to process to get to this event.
Deputy Counsel General of France presented the medals to each veteran.
“Your courage and dedication is an example to us all. You are the example of the greatest generation which faced the despair and degradation of the great depression,” Deputy Counsul General of France Fabrice Maiolino said.
Villalobos was among B-17 Bomber pilots and gunners and technicians who flew several missions over Europe.
Villalobos attributes getting through that time with the prayers of family and friends.
“It was the prayers of many people. It was very spiritual to have come back without a scratch. I saw a lot of scratches on other people,” Villalobos said.
Villabos was a Technical Sergeant radio operator and gunner in the Army Air Corps now called the Air Force.
He flew 32 missions and fought during D-Day.
“This is very touching because it’s a real event that recognizes something that happened so many years ago. He’s like many millions of surviving veterans right now who are very special and still very honored to have them here,” Villalobos son Rolando said.