Veterans Day at Winter Harbor

By Larry Peterson
On 11-11-11, nearly 150 people attended a Veterans Day Observance at what used to be Naval Security Group Activity Winter Harbor (NSGAWH), Maine, now the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC), in Acadia National Park. The observance was held inside Moore Auditorium, a new state-of-the-art facility that is located on the exact spot where the old commissary used to be. In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Michael Soukup, President and CEO of SERC, stated that hosting this ceremony for all veterans was just one of the things the SERC has done, is doing and will do to assure the Navy’s contributions to the communities of the Schoodic Penninsula will never be forgotten. He also said "The waves of Schoodic Point will never wash away nearly 70 years of U.S. Navy footprints from this ground."

The Reverend Arthur Gowie (CTOCS, Retired), who was stationed at NSGAWH no fewer than three times and is the current secretary-treasurer of NCVA-New England (NCVA-NE), was the Master of Ceremonies. Mr. Robert Kord (former CTA Brancher) from Cutler, Maine presented the keynote address themed "All Gave Some, Some Gave All".

A featured part of the ceremony was the presentation of the State of Maine Gold Star Medal to Mr. Ronald Musetti of Hall Quarry, on Mount Desert Island, in honor of his brother, Engineman Second Class Joseph T. Musetti, Jr., U.S. Navy, a Swift Boat commander killed in action in Vietnam in 1967, for whom the old NSGAWH Musetti Gymnasium was named. The presentation was made by Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Peter Ogden, U.S. Army (Retired), the Director of Maine’s Veterans’ Services Bureau.

Additionally, Mr. Sheridan Steele, Superintendent of Acadia National Park, rededicated a memorial to EN2 Musetti which was first dedicated in May, 1968 at ceremonies in Musetti Gymnasium. The original dedication ceremony was presided over by then commanding officer, CDR T.F. Hahn. The late Mr. & Mrs. Joseph T. Musetti, Sr. were the guests of honor. Musetti Gym was razed in 2009. Superintendent Steele said " that after the base was decommissioned, and as planning for a new mission and new facilities evolved, it became clear that the old gym would be lost because of its age and poor condition. It was in bad shape, you should have seen it. However, throughout our planning, relocating Joey’s memorial to another place of honor was always listed as a top priority. That relocation was completed a short time ago. The original plaque has been permanently set in granite at a location a short distance from where the gym was located and it is prominently situated on Musetti Drive at a fitting spot where visitors drive by and pedestrians frequently pass. The Navy might have gone, but Joey’s memorial remains."

LTC Ogden also presented WWII Service Certificates and commemorative coins, miniature likenesses of the WWII Veterans Memorial that is in the Hall of Heroes at the State House, to three WWII Veterans, Mrs. Edna Gerrish of South Gouldsboro, Mr. Ralph C. Warren of Lamoine and Mr. Avery Chipman of Birch Harbor. The Sullivan Memorial High School chorus, directed my Ms. Lisa Blanchette, sang moving renditions of the National Anthem and the Navy Hymn, and a trio of students sang "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B", a song released by the Andrews Sisters in 1941, as a tribute to the World War II veterans present at the ceremony. Taps was played by Mr. Dan Luciana of Gouldsboro.

LTC Ogden also presented Mrs. Edna Gerrish with a Vietnam War Certificate of Service and a commemorative coin to recognize her son, HN Alan R. Gerrish, United States Navy, who was mortally wounded while administering aid to Marines during the battle for Cam Le Bridge near Danang Airfield in August, 1968. Alan died two days before his twentieth birthday and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. Alan was a resident of the state of Massachusetts at the time of his enlistment, thus not eligible to receive the State of Maine Gold Star Medal.

A number of NCVA-NE members and their spouses attended the observance and after the ceremony they and other friends and relatives met at the Petersons’ home where Phyllis and Larry hosted a lunch and social. This group included Jim and Althea Burks, David Burks, Dave and Neta Phaneuf, Dick and Merlene Carlson, Tom and Carol Christie, Al Lucier, Art and Suzie Gowie, Arthur Gowie, Jr., Elizabeth Graves, Edna Gerrish, Ralph Warren and the Petersons.

Mr. Michael Soukup, President/CEO of SERC: "The waves of Schoodic Point will never wash away nearly 70 years of U.S. Navy footprints from this ground."

Mr. Sheridan Steele, Superintendent of Acadia National Park, rededicates the EN2 Joseph Musetti Memorial.

Robert Kord
Keynote Speaker

LTC Ogden Presents WW2 Service Certificate to Ralph Warren

Mr. Ronald Musetti receives the State of Maine Gold Star Medal from LTC Peter Ogden, Director of the Maine Veterans Affairs Bureau, while Master of Ceremonies Art Gowie looks on. The Maine Gold Star Medal is given to the next of kin of Maine veterans who die in war zones.

Musetti Memorial

Sumner HS girls sing
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B

Dick & Merlene Carlson

Bob & Josie Kord

Art Gowie

Bob Kord · Dick Carlson · Al Lucier

Group relaxes at the Petersons' home.

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