Veteran JTA correspondent Tom Tugend honored by France for war service

Marcy Oster

LOS ANGELES (JTA) —   Tom Tugend, veteran JTA correspondent in Los Angeles, was appointed by French President Francois Hollande as Chevalier (Knight) in the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

The recognition, the highest decoration in France, established by Napoleon in 1802, is based on Tugend’s service during World War II, when his U.S. infantry regiment was attached to the First French Army during the bitter 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.

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In civilian life, Tugend 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.

For the past 28 years, Tugend, now 90, has reported on the Hollywood entertainment industry, politics, Jewish communities and personalities, and on some of the oddities of life in California.

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.

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