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Author Topic: Howard Manoian: not the D-day hero he pretended to be  (Read 4496 times)


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« on: 21 July 2009, 12:30:49 »

what a sad and shameful story

Boston Herald

An American veteran who said he parachuted into Normandy as part of the D-Day landings in June 1944 has been exposed as a liar.

Howard Manoian, 84, had been awarded the prestigious French award the Legion d'honneur for bravery.

He claimed he had landed in Sainte-Mere-Eglise in France - the setting of a fierce battle immortalised in the John Wayne film The Longest Day.
But his military records reveal he spent the war behind the front line.
Mr Manoian was a local war hero in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, with a plaque erected in his honour.
He said he had served with the famous 82nd Airborne Division, and would tell vivid tales of his parachute mission.

"Even in the aeroplane I was wondering what it was going to be like. They are going to start firing at us when we get near the land," he said.
"One planeload jumped and landed in the square by the church and of course the Germans were already up and they were firing as they came down... Half of them were killed and wounded immediately. That was the first time I saw a person dead face to face."

War injuries

In fact Mr Manoian served with the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company, which operated well behind the front line.
He spent most of the war looking after a supply dump in northern France after arriving on Utah beach by supply ship.

Mr Manoian claimed he had been hit by German machine gun bullets in the left hand and both legs during a fire fight on 17 June 1944, and then again by a Nazi plane that targeted the hospital where he was recovering.
In fact his only war injuries were a broken middle finger while on standby in England and then heavy bruising to another hand.
The lies came to light when military records were obtained by the Boston Herald.

The Second World War US parachutist said he was wounded in action after coming down on Sainte-Mère-Église - the scene of the ferocious battle of June 6 1944 depicted in the epic film The Longest Day, starring John Wayne.

But after Mr Manoian, 84, was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest award for bravery, at last month's 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings, his true war record was finally made public.

Rather than storming across Europe and taking part in some of the most famous actions in military history, the self-styled American hero in fact spent most of the war minding a supply dump in northern France after arriving on Utah Beach by supply ship.
Instead of the fabled 82nd Airborne Division, as Mr Manoian claimed, his unit was the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company, a far less prestigious outfit which always operated well behind the front line.

Manoian's war wounds were also non existent, although he did suffer a broken middle finger while on standby in England, and then heavy bruising to another hand. He always told admirers he had been hit by German machine gun bullets in the left hand and both legs during a fierce fire fight on June 17 1944, and then again by a Nazi Messerschmitt which strafed the field hospital where he was recovering.

The incredible deceit finally came to light thanks to military records including Army pay roll documents obtained by the Boston Herald Tribune in American military archives.
Historian Brian Siddal said: "He was never part of the paratroopers. The evidence is overwhelming."

Since the war, Mr Manoian had even set up home in Chef-du-Pont, a village near Sainte-Mère-Église, where a plaque was erected in his honour, alongside the 82nd Airborne museum in the town.
He was a regular at a veteran's bar, The Stop, where original black and white photographs of him in military uniform still adorn the walls.
Mr Manoian frequently told of the part he also played in Operation Market Garden - the failed and extremely bloody campaign fought by Allied paratroopers in September 1944 and depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far.

It appeared that all of his distortions of the truth were inspired by Hollywood, with movie fiction spicing all of his claims.
When Band of Brothers, Stephen Speilberg's TV drama about US parachutists fighting across Europe with the spearhead Easy Company of the 101st Airborne Division, came out in 2001, Manoian frequently commented on how realistic it was.

Marc Lefèvre, the mayor of Sainte-Mère-Église, said: "It's unbelievable to think how we've been misled over all these years. He was always perched up at the bar, in front of a beer, recounting his incredible stories from the war.
"All of us are very shocked by these revelations. We cannot be expected to check the record of every single war hero. We just accepted what Mr Manoian told us."

Christophe Prime, of the D-Day Memorial Museum in Caen, Normandy, said: "There are always going to be people who invent their pasts to make themselves sound more heroic. This case is a particularly extreme one."
Manoian's true war record, recounting his work at the supply dump in Audouville-la-Hubert, has now been handed over to the French authorities, with a government spokesman saying the fraud was "to be regretted".
There is no evidence whatsoever to link him with his claimed unit, Company A, of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

The ex-serviceman's Legion d'Honneur is now expected to be rescinded, and his name and photograph removed from official records, and from museums.
Mr Manoian has not commented on the revelations and could not be contacted at his home in France, with a neighbour saying: "He's feeling poorly and has returned to America."

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« Reply #1 on: 21 July 2009, 16:19:22 »

"He's feeling poorly and has returned to America."

I bet.


"War does not determine who is right, war determines who is left...": The Rattler Way Of Life (thanks! to Solideo)... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9v3Vyr5o2Q

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« Reply #2 on: 27 July 2009, 02:03:39 »

I wonder is it was a ratchet kind of thing: getting himself deeper and deeper into lies. Or maybe there is some kind of mental health issue at play... though probably not PTSD   Knipoog . or maybe he just thought that the whole thing was a victimless crime.
« Last Edit: 27 July 2009, 12:28:46 by bongotastic » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 27 July 2009, 09:21:29 »

Sad story,

There has been a guy in Holland too, he wore a generals uniform and claimed to have fought in Korea.
My country doesnt have a huge miltary, so if you wear a generals rank the truth comes out very fast if nobody can remember you.
When the truth came out there was a fight between him and some real veterans.

Very disturbing and very sad.

My topics are about my personal opinion, my thoughts and what I think. They do not reflect the official opinion of the ministry of defense of the Netherlands.
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« Reply #4 on: 18 September 2009, 16:33:24 »

In Korea there are ways you can find out.  At least with the RoKMC.  There are a series of questions you can ask and a fake will have a very very hard time pulling it off.
The vocabulary in the Marines and outside is different and there aren't many ways to know about them unless you've served because most folks don't use it in every day life but when they get together they use it again.  And that's just the beginning.  It's a small community so fakes are found pretty easily.

Dutch military... geez... I bet everyone knows everyone!  Bad idea to be a fake General!

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