BATON ROUGE – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today presented the Purple Heart to Mr. Johnnie A. Jones, for serving in Operation Overlord (known as the invasion of Normandy) during World War II, despite being injured during the battle.
Mr. Jones is a 101-year-old resident of Baton Rouge who served as a Warrant Officer (Junior Grade) in the 494th Port Battalion, 6thEngineer Special Brigade. He took part in the third wave of Operation Overload when he was injured on Omaha Beach. Mr. Jones sustained a back injury from his ship hitting a mine, and also suffered penetrating shrapnel wounds from German air attacks.
After his service during Operation Overlord, he participated in the Northern France campaign. In addition to the Purple Heart, Mr. Jones is a recipient of the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze stars and one bronze arrowhead, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He has also received the Legion of Honour (Chevalier rank) and the Croix de Guerre with Palm from France.
After his service, Mr. Jones earned a bachelor’s and law degree from Southern University, and soon thereafter legally represented the organizers of the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, which served as a template for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He has an extensive record of taking on other civil rights legal cases, and served a term in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
“Johnnie Jones fought to liberate the people of France, led civil rights efforts at home, and selflessly represented his community,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Thank you for your service to this country. It’s an honor to present such a well-deserved honor to this great man.”
Mr. Jones was also presented his juris doctorate degree from Mr. John Pierre, Chancellor of the Southern University Law Center.
Additionally, Mr. Jones was commended in writing by General James McConville, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
“We owe you [Mr. Jones] a debt of gratitude, both for your sacrifices during World War II and for being a role model for African Americans aspiring to serve,” said General McConville. “We serve to honor your legacy. Thank you for your selfless service as a member of the Greatest Generation.”