Frenchie features stories of French-speaking Cajun World War II veterans, as told by the veterans themselves.
Episode 4: Bernice LeJeune - Interpreter
In 1941, Bernice LeJeune was told by the army that his Cajun French language would be of “no use to the US military.” Two years later, he found himself on the shores of North Africa assigned as a French Interpreter for an American colonel. LeJeune traveled with this colonel all throughout the Mediterranean Campaign and helped maintain liaisons with the French people and the French army at the famous battles of Casino and Anzio in Italy. His Cajun French language served him well; it kept him from the front-line fighting in the foxholes and helped to bridge the communication gab among allies during the crucial Italian campaign. Claude Broussard and E. J. LeBlanc—two other Frenchie Cajuns who fought in Italy—share their stories of combat as well in this episode.
Episode 3: Cajuns in the Navy
In this episode, we transition from the front lines to the high seas, and feature stories from Cajuns who served in the US Navy. These Cajuns had the occasion to speak their native French to other Francophones while in the Pacific or onboard ship, and some were actually engaged in interpreting for military commanders with French leaders. This episode features stories from Willis Granger, Jonas Perrin, Ovide Lancon, and James Warren David who had a distinguished career in the navy and served as an interpreter for a vice admiral.
Episode 2: Sam Broussard - OSS
Sam Broussard was born and raised in Breaux Bridge, LA, and served as an intelligence officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He came ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day as the intelligence officer with the US First Army. He led a special forces detachment unit throughout Normandy and Brittany on various missions alongside French resistance groups behind enemy lines. From France, he led additional missions in Belgium and Germany with Belgian underground forces. This episode includes excerpts from two interviews with Sam from the 1980s, including an interview done entirely in French.
Episode 1: Robert LeBlanc - OSS
Bob Leblanc, a native of Vermilion Parish, served as a liaisons officer with Special Forces Detachment No. 11 in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He came ashore in Normandy with Gen. Patton’s Third Army and led a small advanced team behind enemy lines to coordinate activities with French resistance fighters. His ability to not only speak French, but to read and write it, gave him distinct advantages in the military. He also served in China with the OSS and later became commander of the Louisiana National Guard. This episode features excerpts from three separate interviews with Bob LeBlanc over a fifteen-year span.
Remarkable to hear and learn from these interviews!
Highly recommend this series. In order to more forward in a responsible way, our Nation needs to understand and learn from the past. Let’s celebrate and honor diversity through this series.