Tsongas: French Legion of Honor Inducts Haverhill Veteran

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

A World War Two veteran from Haverhill recently received France’s highest military honor for his service, including his role in the 1944 invasion on Normandy.

Raymond Jenkins of Haverhill was inducted into the French Legion of Honor, according to a statement from Massachusetts Third District Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. Rep. Tsongas’ office worked closely with Mike Ingham, Haverhill’s veteran’s service officer, to assist Sergeant Jenkins in obtaining the French Legion of Honor award for his service. Tsongas also sent a letter of support to the French Consulate in Boston. After final approval from Paris, Jenkins received the award Dec. 10.

“Sergeant Jenkins is a distinguished and revered veteran and fully deserving of this proud honor,” Tsongas said. “Sergeant Jenkins represents the courage and selflessness instilled in so much of that Greatest Generation. I know I speak for the entire Third District, with our rich military traditions, when I thank him for his service.”

Sergeant Raymond Jenkins served in the Army’s 293d Joint Assault Signal Company during World War II. He served from Jan. 7, 1943 to Oct. 1, 1945 and earned the Purple Heart and the European African Middle-Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon. Jenkins was one of the first soldiers on Normandy setting up communications prior to the invasion. He sustained serious injuries while serving in France during a mission to deliver a message to General Patton.

“As the veterans services director for the City of Haverhill and as a personal friend, I was very honored to recommend Sergeant Ray Jenkins for the Legion of Honor through the office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas,” Ingham said. “The French people have not forgotten what men like Ray Jenkins did for their country and are proud to honor them.”

The French Legion of Honor is the highest decoration bestowed by the France. It is bestowed upon those who have served France defending liberty, a spokesperson said. American veterans who risked their lives during World War II and who fought on French territory qualify to be decorated as Knights of the Legion of Honor.

The French Legion of Honor is an order of distinction first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in May of 1802. Only approximately 10,000 Americans have been bestowed the honor, including Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur.