LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Longtime JTA correspondent Tom Tugend was bestowed with France’s highest decoration for his World War II service.
President Francois Hollande recently appointed Tugend, 90, as Chevalier (Knight) in the National Order of the Legion of Honor. The award was established by Napoleon in 1802.
Tugend’s U.S. infantry regiment was attached to the 1st French Army during the fighting against SS units defending the Colmar Pocket in Alsace.
Subsequently, Tugend served as an American volunteer in Israel’s War of Independence and was a squad leader in the Anglo-Saxon 4th anti-tank unit. He was recalled by the U.S. Army in 1950 for the Korean conflict and was assigned as editor of an army newspaper in San Francisco.
For the past 28 years, Tugend has reported from Los Angeles for JTA and others on the Hollywood entertainment industry, politics, Jewish communities and personalities, and on some of the oddities of life in California.
He has worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press bureau in Madrid, as well as a longtime UCLA science writer and communications manager.
Tugend came to the United States in 1939 as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. He and his wife, Rachel, a Jerusalem native, have three daughters and eight grandchildren.