Edwin Dwight Ledbetter, formerly of Conway and now of Placitis, New Mexico, was awarded the French Legion of Honor medallion in San Francisco on Oct. 23, 2013. He is the brother of Emily Montgomery and Bill Ledbetter of Conway.
In June, Ledbetter received a letter from Francois Delattre, the French Ambassador in Washington D.C. stating as follows:
"By decree of President Hollande on June 3, 2013, you have been appointed a ‘Chevalier’ of the Legion of Honor. This award testiifies to President Hollande’s high esteem for your merits and accomplishments. In particular, it is a sign of France’s infinite gratitude and appreciation for your personal and precious contribution to the United states’ decisive role in the liberation of our country during World War II. The French people will never forget your courage and your devotion to the great cause of freedom. It is a true pleasure for me to convey to you our sincere and warm congratulations."
Lt. Edwin Ledbetter was the 20-year-old pilot of a B-17 that was returning from a mission to Germany on March 16, 1944 and encountered flak. He was shot down over France in the small village of LHuitre in champagne country. He was a prisoner of war of the Germans in occupied France in Rheims for nearly six months before General Patton’s Army liberated him.
After returning to the United States, he attended and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and from Harvard Law School. He was an attorney in Los Angeles before entering the Foreign Service. He retired in 1976.
It was arranged that he receive the medallion in San Francisco so that his three children, Suzanne, Catherine and John, and four of his five grandchildren could be able to attend the ceremony. His wife Beverly Ledbetter accompanied him to California for the ceremony, given by French Consel General Romain Serman at his official residence.