AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has proclaimed June 20, 2015 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 Thursday met with members of the New England Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association (DESA), which includes Navy Veterans from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The Governor presented a signed copy of the 2015 Destroyer Escort Day Proclamation, which is a longstanding tradition of the Governor of the State of Maine.
"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," said Governor LePage.
In attendance were veterans who served in World War II including retired Commander Normand Demers. Commander John Dube, USN Retired also attended, along with DESA members Gail Kerns-Dube, William Hayden, Mark Groomes, Stephen Paquette, Stella Paquette, George Jackman, and Herbert Mann, Jr.
The New England Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association has seen a recent drop in number of members, from 100 to about 50. The decrease in the number of members reflects how special it is to recognize veterans who served on the Destroyer Escorts.
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 20th 2015 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.