BAR HARBOR — “We are not a perfect nation, but one of our greatest strengths is that we recognize our mistakes and take measures to correct them,” said retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Spencer.
He was speaking at a ceremony held Saturday at the American Legion George Edwin Kirk Post 25 to recognize Vietnam-era veterans, many of whom returned from service overseas in the 60s and 70s to indifference, scorn or contempt from their fellow citizens.
The ceremony was part of an ongoing special commemoration by the U.S. Department of Defense of the 50th anniversary of the war.
The Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C., he said, is different from most other war memorials. Usually, a viewer needs to stand at a distance to appreciate the whole of a large memorial.
But the Vietnam memorial wall is “best realized when you’re standing close,” he said. “Close enough to touch it, close enough to see your reflection in that black granite.” Close enough to read the names, each of which “represents a young person who answered the call.”
Spencer personally thanked each of the dozens of Vietnam-era vets at the event “on behalf of a grateful nation.” Each received a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin from him and a certificate from Post 25 Commander Barbara MacPike.
Mount Desert Island residents recognized included Beth Macul of American Legion Post 103 in Northeast Harbor, who served in the navy between 1967 and 170; John Walls, Post 25’s sergeant-at-arms, who served as a tech sergeant in the air force from 1953 to 1976. Among the Post 25 members who were deployed to Vietnam were Richard Hamor, who served in Bein Hoa, and Stephen Mitchell, who served in Vung Tau.
Post 25 Adjutant Paul Blackstone, Chaplain Domenico Marchesani and Christine Harding of the Women’s Auxiliary also addressed the gathering.
The following Vietnam-era military veterans were recognized with a pin and certificate at the special commemoration ceremony, though not all were able to attend in person.
Paul Blackstone Bar Harbor E-5, USMC, MCB, Camp LeJeune, N.C. 1975-1978
John Bennoch Salsbury Cove Post 25
Norman Bowden Bucksport E-4, PO3, USN
Richard Bowden Bucksport E-4, PO3, USN
George Bridgham Bangor 2nd Class Petty (E-5), NAS Whiting Field, Milton, Fla. 1965-1971
Helen Murphy Brooks Robbinston E-2, WAC, Med. Co. Ft. Belvoir, Va., 1955-1956
Robert Broussard Lamoine E-8, Senior Chief, US Navy, 1944-1974
Steve Burgess Machinist Mate, USN, USS America, Aircraft Carrier CVA66, 1967-1971
Frank W. Butler Fletchers Landing EM2 (E-5), USN, USS Fulton AS-II, 1973-1977
Richard L. Butters Ellsworth Post 207, SAC, 1960-1980
Bruce Clark Ellsworth LCDR, USN, USS Chicago &USS Midway CVA41,1966-67
Chris Coston MDI Post 25
Dick Cough Bar Harbor USCG, Post 25
Gregory A. Couture West Gardiner LT, USN, Retired, Surface Warfare Officer, 1971-93
Doug Daman Bangor Airman, Commander Post 12
Frank Dunbar Bucksport E-4, US Army
William Dyer Bar Harbor Post 25
Merrill Elias MDI Post 103, CPT. USAF, AFSC, RADC, Griffin, NY. AFB
Pamela Farnsworth Southwest Harbor PNC (Retired) USN, Moffett Field, CA. 1973-1996
Donald E. De Golyer MDI CPT. US Army, 521st Engineer Grp., 7th Army Support Cmd. 1961-1968
Robert Goodwin Bar Harbor E-5, HQ. Co. 82nd Airborne Div. Ft. Bragg, N.C. 1969-72
Michael L. Gordon Bar Harbor Post 25
Francis Grindle II Bucksport E-6, USAF, Post 93
Donald Johnston Bar Harbor 195th Army Band
Richard Keene Trenton Sp-4, 502nd, Corp Eagle, US Army, 1970-1971
Lionel Harvey Bucksport E-7, USN, Post 93
Brian Hamor Bar Harbor E-5, US Army, A Co. NCOIC, Motor Pool, Bein Hoa, Vietnam. 1964-68, Post 103
Richard Hamor Bar Harbor CPT. G-2 Opn. HQ, 1CAV. Div. Bein Hoa, Vietnam, Post 25
Jim Harper Bar Harbor US Army 1969-1970
Paul Jewett Northeast Harbor USN/USAF, Post 207
Patrick Landry Bucksport E-5, US Army, Post 93
Douglas Lee Trenton LTC, HHD 173rd Med. Bn. 13th USA Corps, 1st US Army, 1959-1975
Carroll Leland MDI Sgt. USAF, 526th Mechanic-Fighter Intercept Sqd. Ramstein, Germany, 1964-1968
Donald Loncto Fletchers Landing E-5, US Army, MP 8th Army HQ. 1968-1971
Beth Macul Northeast Harbor CYN, USN, CINCLANTFLT, Norfolk, VA. and NAVCOMMSTAWASHDC, Md. 1967-1970
Ron Madore Lamoine US Army
Bob Mc Glauflin Bangor Airman 1st Class, USAF, 306 2ND Sqd., 306 Bomb Wing (Heavy) Orlando, Fl. 1972-1991
William Mahoney MDI LT. USN, USS Wasp, CVS 18 Carrier
Domenico Marchesani Bar Harbor Second Class PO, Aviation Mach. Mate, 1955-1957
Stephen Mitchell Bar Harbor E-4, US Army, 805th Transportation, Vung Tau, Vietnam, Post 25
Robert Moore MDI Sp. 4, US Army, 1/87th Infantry BN. HQ CO.
Charles Mulhern Ellsworth Sgt. US Army, A Troop, ¾ CAV. 25th Infantry, 1964-1967
Donald Nelson Bucksport E-7, USAF, Post 93
Grover Nevells Bar Harbor Post 25
Darrell Leon Paine Lamoine E-4, USMC, SU #1, CasCo. H&SBn. MCB, CamPen. Ca. 1967-1971
Arden L. Peach Bar Harbor Post 25
Harry Rideout Hermon 79th Engineers
Albert R. Scott Ellsworth Sp 4, US Army, CO. A 141st Sig BN 1st Armor Div. Ft. Hood, Tx. 1962-1965 and 1972-1995, American Legion District 12 Commander
John Arthur Shea MDI Sp 4, US Army, 15 Admin.Co. 1st CAV (AIR)1963-1965
Alan Silverman Seal Harbor Post 25
Ronald Slahucka Bucksport CPT, USMC, Post 93
Frank L. Stanley MDI PO 3rd Class, USCG, 1974-1978
Dan Sullivan Ellsworth Airman First Class, USAF, 99th Bombardment Group, Westover AFB, Mass. 1966-1970
Louis V. Tonero Amherst Sgt. USMC, HMM-161, 1969-1970
William Vanhorn Winter Harbor Post 25
John Walls Bar Harbor Post 25, Tech Sergeant, USAF, 1953-1976
Scott VerWay Ellsworth USN, 1973-1977
Richard Viera MDI USCG under order of US Navy, 1959-1995
A Surviving Spouse Certificate of Honor was also presented to Angie Scott, wife of the late Rodney Earl Scott of Biddeford, E-4, U.S. Army, HQ Co., Ft. Waynewright, Alaska, 1962-1965.