Ninety-one year old John Fallon of Avalon, N.J., looked every bit the soldier he was in World War II as he stood at attention to receive the Legion of Honor at ceremonies held at the French Embassy in New York on November 8.
The prestigious medal was the third received by Fallon, who was a captain in the 36th Engineer Combat Regiment and saw action throughout the European campaign, starting in North Africa, then the invasion of Anzio, Italy, up through France and into Germany. Not including the two Purple Heart medals received for the wounds he sustained, Fallon was awarded two Bronze Stars with a V for Valor in action.
Fallon, who entered the Army at age 20, recalls, "Of the three battalions in our regiment, ours did more fighting than bridge building." He was wounded in the Anzio campaign and then in Alsace, France.
After the service, he attended and graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and became a salesman for the Three M Company. A Philadelphia native, he bought a summer home in Avalon 55 years ago and has been a permanent resident there for a number of years.
An active member of the Stephen Ludlum American Legion Post 331 in Stone Harbor, Fallon was accompanied to the award ceremonies in New York by three members of Post 331, including Kevin Coyle, past commander of the post, Tom McCullough and Al Carusi. The four of them, along with Harry Clayton, the current commander of Post 331; Bob Levins, Bill Lehman, Joe Troisi and Vicky Lachman, the post adjutant, were honored at the Philadelphia Flyers game Thursday night, where they met several Flyers veterans, including all-star goalie Bernie Parent.
Fallon said it was a "very special evening, especially when they gave me a Flyers jersey with my name on it."