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Edouard V. Izac: WWI Medal of Honor

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The last surviving World War I Medal of Honor recipient, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edouard Victor Michel Izac, has died in his sleep. He was 100 years old when he died Jan. 18.

Izac, a former California congressman, was aboard the troop transport President Lincoln on May 31, 1918, when a German submarine sank it with three torpedoes.

Captured by a U-boat, he was able to glean strategic information about the positions of German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean. Izac tried several times to escape, once by jumping out the window of a moving train en route to Villingen, Baden. But, having injured his knees and head, he was recaptured.

Izac eventually escaped, trekking through the mountains of southwest Germany and swimming across the Rhine River.

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“Even among Medal of Honor winners, Izac stands out as a particularly heroic figure,” said retired Rear Adm. Gene La Roque, director of the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

Then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Izac Nov. 11, 1920.

Izac graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1915. He is survived by five children, 19 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


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