A World War II Alabama veteran who survived COVID-19 is honored with the French Legion of Honor on his 105th birthday in recognition of his service
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A World War II veteran from Alabama who survived last year’s COVID-19 will be honored Friday on his 105th birthday with the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his service.
Major Wooten, who as a soldier repaired bomb-damaged trains in France, will receive France’s highest award at a combination medal ceremony and birthday party in Huntsville, according to a statement from the French consulate in Atlanta and his granddaughter, Holly McDonald.
“The Legion of Honor is awarded to both French citizens and foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it champions, including individuals who have contributed professionally to the country, as well as veterans such as the Americans who risked their lives during World War II. fights on French soil,” the consulate’s announcement said.
The Consul General for France in Atlanta, Vincent Hommeril, will adorn Wooten with the medal endorsed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Wooten, drafted in 1943, landed in France in 1944 and was one of four brothers to serve simultaneously during the war. He served at Le Mans before being sent to a train station in Paris, according to a summary of his service from the French.
Wooten returned home after the war in 1946 and had a post-war career with US Steel in Birmingham. He tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020 after his daughter contracted the disease, but recovered in time to spend his 104th birthday at home.
Wooten is “doing very well” despite the illness and recently participated in Veterans Day activities, McDonald said. The mental blurriness that initially appeared with the illness faded, she said, and his physical strength recovered as well.
“We really saw an improvement after the therapy,” she said.