WWII veteran Pacillo received France’s highest honor

James P. Pacillo of Apache Junction was a recipient of The National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight) from the government of France.

The award is the highest honor France bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals, according to a press release.

The presentations were made by Gerrit M. Steenblik, honorary consul of France in Arizona, at a private ceremony Nov. 25, 2014, at the Arizona State Veterans Home, 4141 N. Third St. in Phoenix.

Mr. Pacillo served as a private first class in World War II as a gunner with the 197th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion with service in France, Belgium and Germany, the release said. He landed at Omaha Beach on the morning of D-Day June 6,1944, confronted by fierce enemy firepower.

His significant decorations include the EAME Campaign Medal with five battle stars, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

Also honored were Major Gerald A. Gustafson, USA (Ret) of Chandler; Corporal Michael A. Rizzo of Phoenix; Private First Class Cary G. Goodwin of Mesa; and Private First Class Daniel D. Smith of Sun City.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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