CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - A Biloxi Navy veteran who went ashore in the first wave of the D-Day invasion in Normandy has received France's highest honor for heroism. Oscar Russell, 88, was presented the National Order of the Legion of Honour Award with the rank of Chevalier (Knight) in a ceremony at Camp Shelby Wednesday morning.
On June 6, 1944, Russell served as a crewman on a landing craft which escorted Army Rangers onto Omaha Beach. He remained in Normandy for nearly a month, assisting with the invasion.
He later went on to serve in the Pacific.
After the war, Russell became a schoolteacher and a minister.
"I just feel humble and thank the people so much," said Russell. "It makes me feel proud that I could help give a nation freedom," he said.
Russell received the award from French Liaison Officer Lt. Col. Philippe Testart.
"We are celebrating a hero for a foreign country for me, who helped us to recover what we love the best...freedom," said Testart. "We owe him very much and we can't thank him enough," Testart said.
Russell's service was a major influence on his grandson, First Lt. Rodney Brock, who is currently stationed at Camp Shelby with the 177th Armored Brigade.