Huard’s Martial Arts Maine Skirmish grappling tourney was held on Nov. 11, as a tribute to veterans. Winners in the age 6 and under Sumo wrestling division were Jacobi Peasley, 6, of Benton, and Jackson Jandreau-Hanson, 6, of Clinton.
The JMG Program in Vassalboro, under the direction of Victor Esposito, continues to support the Vassalboro community. On October 27, the group worked with and supported the Vassalboro Grange to put on a very special Harvest Supper. Proceeds from the event cover the insurance costs for the Grange building.
The students set the tables, decorated the space with floral arrangements made by Fieldstone Gardens, coordinated the cooking of the roast beef (with help from Meredith Cain and Mr. E), professionally serve the meal, and assisted with clean up!
Evelyn LaCroix, 11, of Skowhegan, was invited to sing the national anthem, on October 7, at the bridge dedication in honor of Somerset County deputy sheriff Cpl. Eugene Cole, pictured, who was tragically killed in the line of duty. With Evelyn are Pastor Deputy Kevin Brooks, left, and Somerset County Sheriff Dale P. Lancaster.
Seventeen new Leos from Erskine Academy, in South China, were inducted Thursday, October 11, at the Whitefield Lions Club in Coopers Mills. The Leo Club at Erskine Academy sponsored by the Whitefield Lions is the largest in the state and was formed two years ago under the guidance of Whitefield Lions Cal Prescott, Barry Tibbetts, Rod Kenoyer and Erskine Leo Advisor, Roxanne Malley.
Earl H. Smith, Dean Emeritus, Colby College, publishes Water Village – The Story of Waterville, Maine in partnership with Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce.
Waterville author Earl Smith is scheduled to present a reading from Water Village on Thursday, November 15 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Waterville Opera House. The evening will commence in the foyer in Waterville City Hall. Light refreshments and appetizers representing the diverse culture of our city will be served. Books will be available for purchase. A book reading by Mr. Smith will follow at the Waterville Opera House and he will be available to sign books at the end of the evening.
To preorder Water Village contact Brittnae DeRoche, marketing director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Books are available for $29.95 + tax.
Area dog and cat owners are invited to participate in Vassalboro Food Pantry’s annual rabies clinic from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, at the food pantry located at 679 Main St.
This annual event is one of the pantry’s important fundraisers, allowing the pantry to purchase critical food and hygiene items for community members in need. Rabies vaccine for dogs and cats will be administered by Windsor Veterinary Clinic for a $15 fee per animal. New this year, nail trims will be offered for $10 for qualifying animals. Animals that are aggressive or typically require sedation for nail trims will not be serviced. Animals must be leashed or in carriers. Dog licenses will also be available.
For more information, call 873-7375 and leave message, or email email@example.com.
Seventy-three years ago, two local men took part in some of the most intense conflicts of World War II that took place within months of each other and brought U.S. troops closer to mainland Japan.
Albert R. Boynton, from Whitefield, was only 17 years old at the time and had enlisted in the Navy with his father’s permission. He turned 18 by the time he arrived at boot camp at Sampson, New York. After training, Boynton was assigned to the USS Goodhue APA-107. Their mission was to transport Marines, armaments, equipment and food and medical supplies to strategically located islands.
Carl J. Stenholm, of China, also a new naval recruit of 18 years of age, was assigned to the USS Hyman DD-732, a destroyer newly tooled from Bath Iron Works, in Maine. Their mission was to protect the transport vessels, destroy enemy aircraft and provide the gunfire to protect the Marines as they landed on the beaches.
By early February 1945, hundreds of ships were gathered from the Atlantic and Pacific theaters for long-range battle plans to strategically take over islands close to Mainland Japan. The Hyman and Goodhue were assigned to this complex offensive.
On D-Day February 19, 1945, the naval invasion surrounded the island of Iwo Jima. The USS Hyman was positioned close to shore, so close that Marines could be seen moving forward on land with flame-throwers. There would be no more practice drills for the 370-member crew on the Hyman. Standing dead in the water, their guns bombarded the shores clearing the way for the Marines fighting yard by yard on rough, unsheltered terrain.
By February 22, all but the western side of Iwo Jima had been silenced and the Marines were anxious to take Mount Suribachi that night. The Hyman was volunteered to provide the searchlight illumination for the Marine’s climb, knowing it would make their vessel an easy target. A close call by an enemy shell reminded the crew this was a night they would not forget. Through the dark, The Hyman’s 5-inch and 40-caliber guns were carefully coordinated over ship-to-shore radio to provide accurate coverage for the Marines.
At 0700, February 23, the Hyman was ordered to hold fire and the Marines would take the remainder of the hill by small armaments. Stenholm and his crew-mates didn’t realize at the time they would be witnessing history. Three hours after the Hyman was ordered to cease fire, the sounds from Marines’ gunfire and grenades on top of the hill also went silent. At 1020, a flag was raised by a small band of Marines indicating that Suribachi was ours. This event was the iconic flag raising of Iwo Jima.
On March 26, 1926, closer to Mainland Japan, the USS Goodhue arrived at Keramo Retto to put ashore troops and equipment for the upcoming invasion of Okinawa. Unfortunately, while returning to sea, the Goodhue underwent heavy air attack on the evening of April 2. The two anti-aircraft guns successfully defended the vessel from Kamikaze attack from the starboard. They were not as lucky with the attack heading dead ahead. The enemy aircraft hit the mast killing crew in the stern as it fell. Exploding bombs from the plane caused further casualties and fire aboard the vessel.
Boynton remembers hearing an announcement from the PA system, “Damage Control report to Shaft Alley,” and he knew they would be checking for leaks. He said he was very worried “he’d be going for a swim” and checked his life saving gear. Worrying would have to wait for later. Boynton was immediately sent to stretcher duty. The attack killed 27 and wounded 117. A makeshift morgue was set up in a hallway, an unsettling sight for young men’s first experience of death. Boynton vividly remembers taking a moment that night with his good friend Harry Hawkins, from Missouri, to pray. In the morning, they anchored into a calm bay with other damaged vessels. Following repairs, the Goodhue rejoined her squadron on April 10 to resume her transport duties at Okinawa.
The battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa saw heavy casualties on both sides and were victories for the U.S. forces leading to the end of the war. Both men came home safe, yet still mourn the shipmates they lost along the journey. The memories and emotions of war run deep even after 73 years.
This Veterans Day, as you thank men and women for their service, take a moment to ask them to share their stories.
Seventy-seven years after World War II, Leslie (Les) D. Ames is sitting in the living room of his South China home recalling the December 7, 1941, radio broadcast that changed his life.
“I can remember that day as clear as yesterday. I was still in high school. You knew things weren’t ever going to be the same,” he said. Pearl Harbor had just been bombed and President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan. “A few of my classmates left right after the announcement,” he said.
His draft notice arrived on his 18th birthday, February 18, 1943, but three deferrals allowed him to graduate from high school before reporting for service in the Army. He enlisted June 22, 1943, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and reported to Camp Croft, South Carolina, for 17 weeks of Infantry Basic training.
Four weeks into basic training, he was accepted into the Air Corps Flying Cadet program in Lynchburg, Virginia. “The Air Force had more planes than pilots,” Les recalled. In March 1944, his flight training came to an end when he received a telegram from General “Hap” Arnold, commanding general U.S. Army Air Force, saying, “You are further relieved from Air Force training for the convenience of the government.”
There were too many pilots and infantry divisions were needed for the escalating ground war in Europe. Assigned to the 78th Infantry Division, attached to the 310th Infantry Battalion, October 1944, found him on a Liberty ship headed to England and spending a month in the English coastal resort town of Bournemouth, practicing amphibious landings in preparation for a beach landing at Le Havre, France.
Heading north through France, Belgium and into Germany toward Aachen, he told of traveling on mud roads and along hedgerows so thick a tank would stand on end when it tried to penetrate the dense growth along the road. He spoke of the constant cold, of having no shelter from the winter weather, of K-rations instead of hot meals and of the increasing incidents of trench foot that made walking painful and difficult for the soldiers.
Wounded on January 7, 1945, when a piece of metal shrapnel went through his right arm severing bones, nerves and tendons before lodging between two of his right ribs, he was evacuated from the battlefield through France to England and eventually back to Fort Devens, where he had joined the army two years before. Thirteen months after his injury, a surgical team from Walter Reed Hospital reconstructed his right arm. “It (the surgery) was very successful, although it left me with my right arm 3/4 of an inch shorter than the left which plays heck with my golf game,” he said. After medical discharge in August 1946 he attended the University of Maine under the veteran rehabilitation program graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering.
His medals for service during World War II’s Ardennes, Rhineland and Germany Campaigns include the Purple Heart, the Bronze star and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Displayed in the same shadow frame is the piece of shrapnel that ended his battlefield experience.
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