Leon Hansen; Saved Eisenhower
Leon M. Hansen, a World War II Army sergeant credited with capturing four German spies who planned to assassinate Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Battle of the Bulge, died Tuesday. He was 80 and died at a Grand Rapids veterans hospital of unreported causes.
Hansen, according to a Life magazine article in 1945, intercepted four English-speaking German soldiers dressed in American military uniforms and riding in an American Jeep.
They later said they were planning to destroy U.S. military installations and also had been ordered to kill Eisenhower during the 1944-45 battle that sealed Germany’s fate.
Hansen received the Citation of Merit, as well as Eisenhower’s personal thanks.
After the war, Hansen operated a beer distributorship.