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Sasse has Tuesday deadline to get post office named for Omaha WWII hero

Charles Jackson French saved the lives of 15 sailors in 1942

OMAHA — The last hurdle preventing the naming of the Benson branch post office for World War II hero Charles Jackson French is a signature from U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

The rest of Nebraska’s congressional delegation have been involved in a months-long effort to honor French, who lived in Omaha when he enlisted. The Senate Homeland Security and General Affairs Committee, however, won’t consider such proposals unless both senators from the state involved co-sponsor a bill or send a letter of support, a committee staff member confirmed Friday. 

But Sasse is holding to his long-held position of not sponsoring bills to rename post offices. The deadline is noon Tuesday to add the Benson post office renaming into the current bill, the Nebraska Examiner has learned. 

After the Japanese sank the USS Gregory on Sept. 5, 1942, Petty Officer 1st Class French jumped into the water, tied on a rope and started swimming, pulling a boat of 15 injured sailors to safety.

French’s nephew, Roscoe Harris, who’s nearly 90, said the current effort isn’t about a putting a Black man’s name on a post office, but about making sure people see and hear about the value of sacrifice. 

“This isn’t about white America or black America,” Harris said late last week. “It’s about America. This isn’t about my family. It’s about telling an American story."

Read the full story here.