Swiss-born NY war hero OK'd for Arlington burial

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (AP) — The family of a Swiss-born New York doctor has received approval from American military officials to have his remains buried at Arlington National Cemetery because of his espionage heroics during World War II, according to a published report.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported Friday that U.S. Army Secretary and former U.S. Rep. John McHugh from northern New York approved Dr. Rene Joyeuse's burial at Arlington after the Saranac Lake physician's case was reviewed by McHugh's staff.

Although Joyeuse was decorated for parachuting behind German lines before D-Day while serving with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the burial initially was denied because his wartime heroics happened before he became an American citizen.

During a secret mission to France to gather information on enemy troops before the Allied invasion of Normandy, Joyeuse was wounded while shooting his way out of a house surrounded by Nazis, the newspaper reported. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower personally awarded Joyeuse the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military decoration for bravery, behind only the Medal of Honor, and France bestowed him with its highest military honor, the Legion D'Honneur-Chevalier.

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau and U.S. Rep. Bill Owens of Plattsburgh lobbied the Department of the Army for permission to bury Joyeuse at Arlington. Rabideau said Joyeuse's two sons told him their father had requested that he be buried in Arlington.

In a letter sent last week to Rabideau and Owens, McHugh wrote that his staff "overwhelmingly recommended" that the burial request be granted because of Joyeuse's "extraordinary heroism, lifetime scientific contributions and civilian service in support of the U.S. military."

Joyeuse died in June at 92 after battling Alzheimer's disease.

Born Rene Veuve in Zurich, Switzerland, Joyeuse was raised in France and served as a captain in the Free French Forces during World War II. From 1943 to 1945 he worked with the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. After the war he served with French forces in Indochina, then returned to France to earn a medical degree. He also changed his name to the French word for happy, joyeuse, which was his OSS code name.

He and his wife Suzanne, a nurse, emigrated to the U.S. in 1955. The couple moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, with a stint in between at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic, as Joyeuse established a career as a private practioner, trauma surgeon, medical school professor and researcher. They moved to Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks 25 years ago. Joyeuse retired from the state prison system after serving as director of medical services.

In addition to his wife, Joyeuse is survived by two sons, Marc and Remi; a brother in France and four sisters in Switzerland.

The family is making arrangements for the Arlington funeral, but no date has been set, Rabideau said.

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Information from: Adirondack Daily Enterprise, http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/

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