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Governor and Veterans Recognize Destroyer Escort Day

June 7, 2013

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 7
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has proclaimed June 15th, 2013 as Destroyer Escort Day to honor American sailors from World War II, The Vietnam War, and the Korean War who served on Destroyer Escort ships. These ships were used as lifelines for Allied forces by protecting convoys from the U-Boat menace in the Atlantic Ocean. Destroyer Escorts were also used in surface for air battles, surface to surface combat, shelling shores for invasions, and many other assignments. They are no longer built.

Governor LePage on Wednesday met with the New England Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association, which has included Navy Veterans from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The Governor presented them with a signed copy of the 2013 Destroyer Escort Day Proclamation.

“We are losing a generation of warriors, and it saddens me to know there are very few veterans still with us who served on these historic ships,” said Governor LePage. “Our veterans deserve respect and recognition for their dedication in defending our freedom. It is an honor to acknowledge our military men and women of the past and present and to thank them for their service. We can never thank them enough,” added Governor LePage.

In attendance were veterans who served in World War II including Commander Normand Demers, Ronald Therrien, and Francis Therrien. Veterans from the Vietnam War attended including Herbert Mann, John Dube, and Marc Groomes. Mr. Groomes also served in the Persian Gulf War. Erland Rose, a veteran of World War II, was unable to attend. These veterans reside in various towns in Maine including Lewiston, Livermore Falls, and Jay.

Commander Normand Demers remarked how pleased he was to have the Governor recognize Destroyer Escort Day in Maine, “For us to see the Governor, it’s an event for us all. We’re honored to be here and have the Governor sign this every year.” It has been a tradition for the Governor to present the Destroyer Day Proclamation, which is a proclamation by statute.

The New England Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association has seen a recent drop in number of members, from 100 to 55. The decrease in the number of members reflects how special it is to recognize veterans who served on the Destroyer Escorts. “We are an end of an era,” Mark Groomes said. Today, only two World War II Destroyer Escorts are displayed in the United States, which can be found in Albany, New York and Galveston, Texas.

If you would like to become a member of the New England Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association, contact John Dube at (207) 897-5335.

The proclamation language is as follows:

WHEREAS, World War II, The Vietnam War and the Korean War called upon thousands of America’s young men to join in the fight by land, sea and air to restore freedom and peace throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, Destroyer Escorts were designed as an anti-submarine vessel to provide a lifeline for Allied forces by protecting convoys from the U-Boat menace in the Atlantic, and were used extensively in surface to air battles, surface to surface combat, shelling shores for invasions and many other assignments; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of the lives lost in these endeavors, and in commendation of the bravery and valor of these sailors, the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association has paid tribute since 1975 to those American sailors who served on Destroyer Escort ships; and

WHEREAS, the Northeast Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association will host a special ceremony in Lewiston to honor the sailors of Destroyer Escorts from WW II, Vietnam and Korea, with special tribute paid to those that lost their lives with their ships. NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAUL R. LEPAGE, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim June 15th 2013 as

DESTROYER ESCORT DAY

throughout the State of Maine in commemoration of the valiant sailors who risked and often gave their lives for peace and freedom worldwide.

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