Senate Passes Bill to Name Omaha Post Office After WWII Hero

May 30, 2022, noon ·

Charles Jackson French
Artwork depicting Charles Jackson French and his heroic rescue of 15 Navy sailors (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

On September 5th, 1942, Charles Jackson French of Omaha saved 15 injured Navy sailors after their ship, the USS Gregory, had been attacked by the Japanese Navy. Towing 15 of his fellow sailors in a life raft, French swam for more than 6 hours through shark-infested waters to get the men to safety.

Many contend that, because he was a Black sailor during World War Two, he never got the kind of recognition he deserved for his heroism.

Now, after nearly 80 years, French’s memory is being honored.

Representative Don Bacon introduced a bill to name the Benson area post office in Omaha after the war hero. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the bill. Bacon said it’s important that French’s legacy is recognized in Omaha.

“To me, it’s part of Omaha’s heritage that we get to remember. For the rest of my life I’m going to have joy when I go by the Benson post office, seeing the name Petty Officer French on it,” he said.

Bacon also said French’s heroism represents the spirit of veterans across Nebraska and the United States.

“He reflected the best of America with his courage, and doing the right thing, and his bravery,” he said.

After passing the House and the Senate with assistance from Senator Deb Fischer, President Biden has until June 5th to sign the bill.