OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — An Omaha native and war hero is receiving recognition several decades after his act of heroism during World War II.
The story of Charles Jackson French had been largely forgotten since 1942. That year, French was in the United States Navy and saved the lives of at least 15 crew members when their ship, the U.S.S. Gregory was attacked by Japanese forces while at sea.
French, a petty officer, jumped into action rescuing the crewmen while navigating shark-infested waters for several hours.
Nebraska U.S. Representative Don Bacon has introduced legislation to rename a local post office after French.
Bacon said French’s story is noteworthy because of its lasting impact.
“I think it would be worthy to remember this World War II hero,” Bacon said. “A man who could have been bitter, but he was a patriot. He did something great for his country.”
Recent efforts to remember French's story have also been praised by local activists. They look forward to keeping his name alive both in and out of Omaha.
“Its time has come,” Preston Love, a community activist said. “I surely could take time to begrudge the fact that it's not public information, but I celebrate the fact that it is now."
The U.S. Navy is renaming its training pool in San Diego after French.
Bacon's push to rename the local post office in the Benson neighborhood has passed the house and is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.