Bob LeBlanc holds his medal that he was given in Washington D.C. LeBlanc was disappointed by the way the members of the OSS were honored.
Brigadier General LeBlanc’s trip to Washington, D.C. one he won’t forget
The last two weeks have been eventful for 96-year-old Brigadier General Bob LeBlanc.
LeBlanc recently returned from Washington, D.C., where he and others were honored by leaders of the U.S. House and Senate. They presented LeBlanc and others with a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) for their historic contributions during World War II.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States can bestow. In accordance with Public Law 114-269, a single gold medal has been struck to collectively honor the members of the OSS.
LeBlanc was proud and honored to receive his medal, but the trip to Washington, D.C. and the ceremony had moments he will never forget.
The adventure began before LeBlanc and members of his family left Lafayette. When they arrived at the Lafayette airport, the flight LeBlanc was scheduled to take to Atlanta was late to arrive because of bad weather up north. The LeBlanc family was scheduled to leave at 2:30 p.m., but the Delta plane did not arrive until 6 p.m.
The news got worse. Delta Airlines said it could not fly the LeBlanc family to Washington DC because of technical issues with the plane. He would have to leave the next morning.
Fast forward three hours, LeBlanc’s daughter was a long-time employee of LHC Group and she called them for help.
LHC responded with a plane to Washington, D.C. and back.
He made it to Washington, D.C. on time, but the adventure continued. At the ceremony, he was expecting that each name of the OSS members would be called out and they would be honored individually. That did not happen.
“It was a mixed up organization,” said LeBlanc about the ceremony. “I thought they would present it to us. What they did is give it to us before the politicians started to talk. The politicians talked for 20 minutes and they walked out. They did not even acknowledge us. They could have asked us to stand up and say our name. That is the least they could have done.”
LeBlanc said family members of the 20-plus members of the OCC were disappointed by the way Washington D.C. handled the ceremony.
“All we did was just sit there and listen,” said LeBlanc. “My whole family was there and it was not cheap.”
Wayne Touchet, a Vermilion Parish Police Juror, has known LeBlanc for 40 years. He watched the ceremony on his phone and was stunned.
“I watched every moment of that ceremony waiting to see Gen. LeBlanc,” said Touchet “It was an hour and 15 minutes long. It was politician after politician talking about themselves. Not one time did they show any of these veterans (on screen).”
When the politicians were finished talking and they walked off the stage, LeBlanc said he turned to his daughter and asked, “When are they going to give us the award?”
She replied, “They have. They passed out a box with it in it before the ceremony.”
Before the ceremony, the veterans were given the box with the award in it but there was no mention of who they were and what they did.
LeBlanc’s family of about 20 people were disappointed by the ceremony, LeBland said. He and his family did get to tour Washington, D.C. for about three hours before flying home. Many of them also flew back with LeBlanc on LHC’s private jet.
“I want to personally thank LHC because without them, I couldn’t have received this medal.”