WWII-Era Vets to Lead Somerville's Memorial Day Parade

James Legee fought in the Battle of the Bulge. James O'Leary served in post-war Japan.

Somerville's Memorial Day Parade will be led by two veterans this year.

James F. Legee, Jr. and John O'Leary, both Army veterans, will serve as grand marshals of the parade.

Legee served under Gen. George S. Patton and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, according to an announcement from the city.

He enlisted in the Army in 1944, and also saw action in the Ardenne, the Rhineland and Central Europe, earning three battle stars along the way, the announcement says.

Legee also received the World War II War Service Medal from Belgium, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Campaign Ribbon, according to the announcement.

After leaving the Army in 1946, he spent 18 years working as a building inspector for the city of Somerville.

O'Leary joined the Army in 1946 and served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan as part of the Allied occupational Force, the announcement says.

He served as a technician, and among other things he crossed the equator by sea, earning him membership into the "Davy Jone's Locker" fraternity. He received the World War II Victory Medal.

After the war, O'Leary spent 29 years as a custodian in the building department. He also served as a library trustee and was commander of the American Legion Post 447.

Since 1990 he's served as the city's veteran's liaison to the mayor, the announcement says.


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