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74 Years After WWII, France Says ‘Merci’ to a South Carolina Pilot

Pinky Funderburk's Legion of Honor medal, as presented by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-5th) in Rock Hill on Aug. 2.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tom Funderburk is 94 years old. He's one of the last surviving B-17 pilots who flew in World War II.

He goes by the nickname 'Pinky,' because of his once-red hair.

He lives in Rock Hill with his 8-year-old cockatiel, Pretty Boy.

He has more military medals than people have toes; and one of them is the Légion d'honneur -- the Legion of Honor, the highest order of merit bestowed by the government of France. 

Credit Image Provided by Tom Funderburk
Tom 'Pinky' Funderburk was born in Pageland in 1925. He resides in Rock Hill.

The French government recognized Funderburk for his bombing missions over their country at the very close of the war, and for his role in bringing 31 French POWs back to Paris from Austria.

There is, of course, more to Pinky Funderburk's story. And you can listen to him tell it himself.