Thousand Oaks | Local Hero – World War II Veteran to Receive Bronze Star Medal

Thousand Oaks, CA. – When you ask Professor Eldon L. Knuth about his time served in the 95th Infantry Regiment in World War II, he chronicles the firsthand battle for the fortress in Metz in Eastern France. It was November 1944; he was one of 30 soldiers trapped behind enemy lines for five days in severe winter weather with meager supplies and suffering from trench foot. During those critical five days, Knuth survived with only d-rations (a chocolate bar) to eat. Although many men were lost in the initial attack, and despite being within view of the fort, the trapped group suffered only one death during this holding period. On the fifth day, friendly troops broke through the German line and came to their rescue. 

Seventy-six years after this battle, Private-First-Class Knuth will receive the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement. The medal ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 29, at 3:00 p.m. at University Village Thousand Oaks, located at 3415 Campus Drive, where Prof. Knuth and his wife Margaret reside. Several members of his immediate family will be in attendance to watch as the Army’s first woman to command a U.S. Army infantry division, Major General Laura Yeager, presents him with the medal.

 “I appreciate the U.S. Army recognizing me for my service to my country,” said Knuth. “I can say I’m proud to be a member of The Iron Men of Metz.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, University Village is only allowing a select number of people to attend the ceremony. However, the community will broadcast the event live through the community TV station, so Knuth’s neighbors can watch the event.

“It’s so important that we honor these World War II veterans,” said Master of Ceremonies Lt. Col Robert Johnson. “They sacrificed so much, and it’s an honor to give back to those who’ve given so much.” 

Along with the Bronze Star Medal, Knuth has been awarded significant other decorations, including the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and two awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge. In 2019, he was awarded the French National Legion of Honor Medal with the rank Chevalier (Knight) for his service in France.

After being discharged from the Army in August 1945, Knuth spent 35 years on the faculty of the UCLA School of Engineering and Applied Science. He still attends annual reunions with his fellow combat veterans, and has attended liberation anniversary celebrations in Metz five times since the 50th anniversary in 1994. 

The 95-year-old Knuth and his 94-year-old wife Margaret remain active at their University Village home. He swims five days a week and they go to the on-site fitness center three times a week. 

 

Eldon Knuth, then and now

About University Village

University Village, located at 3415 Campus Drive in Thousand Oaks, California, is a Life Plan Community. University Village opened in 2007. The community provides seniors with maintenance-free villas and apartment homes, as well as amenities that include a putting green, dog park, business center, movie theater and multiple dining venues. More information about University Village is available by calling 805-241-3300 or by visiting UVTO.com.


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