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Lompoc, Carpinteria World War II Veterans Receive Medals From French Government

Ceremony held Friday in Lompoc recognizes former B-17 pilot, soldier who landed on Normandy beach

World War II veterans Col. Augustin W. “Gus” Polasek of Carpinteria and Carl W. Robertson Sr. of Lompoc were presented medals from the government of France on Friday. Click to view larger
World War II veterans Col. Augustin W. “Gus” Polasek of Carpinteria and Carl W. Robertson Sr. of Lompoc were presented medals from the government of France on Friday. (Nora K. Wallace / Lompoc Valley Medical Center photo)

World War II veterans from Carpinteria and Lompoc were recognized for their service during an emotional ceremony Friday afternoon. 

The government of France bestowed the National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier (Knight) to Augustin W. “Gus” Polasek, 96, of Carpinteria, and Carl W. Robertson Sr., 102, of Lompoc.

Counsel General Christophe Lemoine presented the medals — the highest honor France bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals — during a ceremony at the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building.

Polasek, who reached the rank of colonel before retiring from the Air Force in 1965, served in Europe as a B-17 pilot with the 332nd Bomb Squadron of the 94th Bomb Group and completed 35 combat missions. 

Robertson, a private first class, landed on Utah beach in Normandy on D-Day as part of the 311th Field Artillery Battalion of the 79th Infantry Division and fought his way across France and Germany in several campaigns. 

He resides at the Lompoc Convalescent Care Center, which had several staff members on hand for the medal presentation ceremony.

During their service both men earned several medals from the U.S. military. 

The French medal dates back to 1802 when Napoleon Bonaparte sought recognition for civilians and soldiers regardless of their stature.

Both Robertson and Polasek also received numerous state and local commendations Friday during the ceremony.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Retired Col. Augustin W. “Gus” Polasek, 96, of Carpinteria was one of two men presented a medal from the government of France during a ceremony Friday afternoon in Lompoc for service during World War II. Click to view larger
Retired Col. Augustin W. “Gus” Polasek, 96, of Carpinteria was one of two men presented a medal from the government of France during a ceremony Friday afternoon in Lompoc for service during World War II. (Nora K. Wallace / Lompoc Valley Medical Center photo)
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