“I jumped into Normany on D-Day with 20 men…Only three of us lived.” 
93 year old Sgt. James “Jake” McNiece, who received several commendations in September, including the French Legion of Honor, presented to him at the Oklahoma State Capitol for his role in liberating France from Nazi Germany.

The average lifespan for a paratrooper in the war was 1.5 jumps. McNiece made four jumps, and always had men ready to go with him.  Asked to explain how he was able to lead men under such difficult and dangerous circumstances, McNiece said it was because he never sent a man on a mission that he couldn’t accomplish with them.

“I never sent them anywhere that I wouldn’t go,” McNiece said, “And when you build that confidence in them, they will protect both sides of the rear.”

Watch an October 26, 2012 news video:

Read more of Sgt. McNiece’s story at: stripes.com/news/veterans/oklahoma-wwii-veteran-receives-france-s-highest-decoration-1.190946?localLinksEnabled=false