By Trey Ackel
World War II veteran and former Army Staff Sergeant Frank “Bud” Buschmeier was honored along with other veterans at McNicholas High School on Nov. 10 during McNicholas’s annual Veterans Day assembly and breakfast. Congressional Representative Brad Wenstrup, from Ohio’s second district, attended as the guest speaker and presented Buschmeier with The French Legion of Honor medal, an order created by Napoleon Bonaparte in May of 1802.
Buschmeier said that being honored by his own Congressional Representative felt “great, especially because he is such a nice guy,” and that it felt even better being honored in front of his grandchildren, senior Caige Beuerlein and junior Chase Beuerlein, because he “is very proud of them.”
Caige said that seeing his grandfather receive the medal was “really awesome,” and that “he already has a lot of awards so it’s nice to add it to the collection, especially because it was established by Napoleon.”
“It just makes [him] really happy because it’s something he deserves, especially after being delayed so long. It’s great to have everyone see what he’s done,” Chase said.
Buschmeier also spoke highly of the French in WWII. He said he “respect[s] the French, especially those in the underground.” He spoke of Abrielle Buicharde, a French resistance fighter that he was acquainted with, and said she was a high priority target of the Germans at the time.
Buschmeier, a gunner, was sent on 34 flight missions during the war, successfully landing on 33 of them and crash landing on his final mission after his pilot was unable to evade two German FW-190s attacking from the rear. The Germans shot 20mm armor-piercing
incendiary rounds at his plane in an attempt to light the fuselage and cause an explosion within the aircraft. Buschmeier was shot in the leg during the attack and described the feeling as “a really hard punch in the leg,” not realizing he had been wounded until afterwards.
As an officer in the United States Army, Wenstrup said, “It is one of the greatest honors [to bestow a medal on a fellow veteran]. It feels like I’m not worthy.” He added that Buschmeier being from the Army as well meant “it’s really fun, [but] when push comes to shove, we’re always there for each other.”
Awarding the French Legion of Honor upon Buschmeier was one of the greatest honors Wenstrup said he has ever bestowed.
Wenstrup added that presenting a medal to a WWII veteran makes him think on “how war has changed” and how “WWII speaks so much to the generation that served our country [during the war].”