World War II Veteran From Central Wisconsin Is Saluted for Heroism

Anton F. Jacks Gets Presented With The French Legion of Honor Award

Sgt. Anton F. Jacks speaking with Rep. Sean Duffy in Thorp on Tuesday. Photo: Glen Moberg/WPR News.

A central Wisconsin World War II veteran was saluted for his service in the liberation of France on Tuesday in his hometown.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy presented 93-year-old Sgt. Anton F. Jacks with the prestigious French Legion of Honor Award before an overflow crowd at the village of Thorp’s American Legion post. For Jacks, it was a recognition that was long overdue.

“It means a lot, you know,” said Jacks. “I wouldn’t get this for nothing.”

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Jacks once saved his 25th Armored Engineer Battalion from an advancing, far-superior German force. While his fellow soldiers slept in a barn, Jacks rigged improvised booby traps outside, from items he found in a junk pile.

“There was an old fire extinguisher, and I picked it up off of a junk pile over there,” said Jacks. “And there was a trip wire too. And that gave us a warning that they were coming.”

The explosions left by the booby traps gave more than a warning: They left 21 Germans dead. There were no American or French casualities.

Jacks said the reason he put everything on the line is obvious: “America’s a good country. We’ve got better freedom than anybody’s got.”

Jacks’ daughter, Diane Covyeow, said her father represents a vanishing breed.

“They’re called the ‘greatest generation,’” she said. “He did one heck of a job.”

Jacks’ other awards include the bronze star and the gold conduct medal.

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