American Soldier

American Soldiers

American Soldiers

American Declaration of Independence

On July 4th, 1776, a small group of men had the foresight to openly break from, at that time, the largest empire on earth. The document they all signed has come to be commonly known as the American Declaration of Independence.

But let us not forget that this document was a declaration of war. Thousands of young Americans would have to fight and sacrifice for this independence… and in every subsequent conflict where American liberty and interests were at stake.

The freedom of press, the right to assemble, and to free speech are wonderful things protected in the Bill of Rights, but they’re nothing without the brave men and women who are willing to give all to defend it. That is what our society has struggled to understand in recent years. The disconnect between those in military service and the civilian population is staggering. People increasingly enjoy a blanket of freedom provided by those in a sacrificial lifestyle.

Charles M. Province said it best:

It is the Soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest. It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

That is what we must remember: That the things we enjoy on a daily basis are paid for in blood, not chatter.

Act of valor led to medals, awards

Act of valor led to medals, awards

By Danielle McLean
Maynard —

Robert R. Lee, nicknamed the “The General,” served two tours in the Vietnam War as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and part of the Army’s elite 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, known as the Black Horse Troopers, between 1968 and 1971. In his first tour he was part of the Army’s M-48 A3 Tank force and in the second, was a helicopter door gunner.

He has earned several prestigious medals including a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with valor, an Army Accommodation Medal with valor, and numerous Air Medal Awards. He was a member of the Army Reserves for seven years after his time in Vietnam.
Lee has lived in Maynard for 40 years with his wife Angela Lee Cossette, working for the Digital Equipment Corporation for 20 years and then the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 2008. He is still an active charter member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 116 out of Leominster.

What prompted you to enlist into the army?

 I originally got drafted. Then I was told I would stay home for another six months, so I changed my draft into an enlistment. That made it so for one extra year I could get specialty training instead of infantry training. Back in those days when you are 19 you are thinking, “I think I would rather be on a tank than an infantry soldier.” What did I know? Plus somebody mentioned going to Germany where all the girls are, so at 19 I enlisted for an extra year to make it three years and to get specialized training for armor.

What was the story behind your awards? What do they mean to you?

The Silver Star has always been something that has always meant a little extra to me, mainly because that day will always live in my memory as the day I probably should have got kicked in the butt instead of being pinned on a Silver Star.

Editor’s note: the Silver Star Medal is the third highest award for bravery in the U.S. military.

I did some things that I wasn’t sure I was capable of doing, but I knew I had to do and the outcome was the award. I was on an M-48 A3 tank and we were taking fire from both sides of us. Our tank got hit by a rocket propelled grenade and before I knew it the tank commander was down and severely wounded. Everyone was trying to communicate and we had our radios blown out by a rocket-propelled grenade.

I grabbed my personal weapon and I got help. While I was running to the next tank to let them know we’d been hit I stumbled onto an [enemy] bunker complex that was right in front of me. I decided to start shooting into it.

As the story goes, the guys in the helicopter were watching me with a set of binoculars saying, ‘who is that idiot playing John Wayne?’ For many years I tried to not play that in my mind because I know lots of people that got shot up and wounded that day, including myself. But then I came to the determination that it is something I should be proud of and I am proud of. So I decided to start talking about it and I found that talking about it brought me to a different place in my life.

We all love our country and we all love our brothers and each year around this time on Memorial Day we all remember the ones that didn’t come back.

Can you describe the bond you share with your fellow Vietnam veterans?

The bond is unbelievable. Yearly, we do a major reunion, last year in Orlando. We are all in our mid-60’s now and not a lot of them wanted to go to Orlando, but 1,200 of us showed up there to have dinner together and break bread and remember those that didn’t come back.

The reunion comes up once a year, this year it will be in Indianapolis. But we’ve been in all the major cities across the states. We’ve had 37 actual reunions and it took about 15 years for the thing to get going. Then 15 years later a lot of people still didn’t want to get back into reunion mode, but little by little a couple of guys, then a couple other guys come and are honored. We have guest speakers and we get together and have our time together. We are united.

How important is it for people to think about and honor our veterans?

I hope people don’t forget the sacrifice that these men make. I know I won’t.

How important is it for veterans like yourself to fight and stand up for this country?

In my mind it will always be America first and love of life and the freedom that we share because of all those guys and it will just always go on. The day I don’t see a Memorial Day parade, I hope I’m not here.

06.11.2013 Scholarship Night

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA
Chapter 116
P.O. Box 294, Leominster, MA 01453

SCHOLARSHIP NIGHT

JUNE 11, 2013, 7:00 P.M.
CARTER PARK
You, your family, and guests are cordially invited to join with the Vietnam Veterans of America for the presentation of the year 2010 Vietnam Veterans of America Scholarships. The Ceremony will be followed by an informal reception at the Leominster Veterans Center, 100 West Street. The 2013 raffle winners will be drawn at this time. The Vietnam Veterans of America have presented over $100,000 for higher education to sons and daughters of VVA members.
The Vietnam Veterans of America Scholarship is awarded annually to recognize, encourage, and contribute to the higher education of qualified VVA 116 members and their children. The Scholarship is presented to honor members of VVA who have devoted their energies in effecting positive change on behalf of all Americans. As a tribute to their continued service and to those who have lost their lives, this Scholarship program is in keeping with the spirit of our motto:

IN SERVICE TO AMERICA

Ice, Ice Rocky! v. 2014

The 2014 Dunk! Ice, Ice Rocky!

Rockwell “Rocky” Pond has taken his post on the pond once again this winter. As legend has it, the pond was named after him many years ago.

Ralph Sacramone and Dick Roberge are pictured hanging out with Rocky on Rockwell Pond recently

Ralph Sacramone and Dick Roberge are pictured hanging out with Rocky on Rockwell Pond recently

Ralph Sacramone and Bob Bray assigned Rocky to his post at 2:05 p.m. on Jan. 9, where he is scheduled to remain until he falls through the ice. When that happens the Leominster Emergency Management Volunteers will rescue him and Spring will not be too far away.

This contest is a 50/50 fundraiser to support veteran’s organization programs, which benefit local veterans and their families ~ including scholarship to local students; Boy Scout projects; Boy’s and Girl’s State; the distribution of Christmas meals to home bound veterans and their families; Ginny’s Thrift Shop veterans; Canines for Combat Veterans; Veterans Homestead; Veterans Training and Rehabilitation Center; and more.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.letvets.org or stop by the Leominster Veterans Center, 100 West St.

Ice Out Contest Rules for 2014 <—- clicky

ICE OUT Contest Tickets for 2014 <—- clicky  (print your tickets here)

Entry deadline is 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, or prior to Rocky falling though the ice.

This annual event is sponsored by the Leominster Veterans Memorial Center (LVMC) Inc., a nonprofit organization made up of the Amvets, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Legend Of Private Rockwell “Rocky” Pond

Private Rockwell “Rocky”  Pond hails from Leominster Ma.

Where he lived on the third floor of 98 West Street, which is now the Leominster Senior Center parking lot. Rocky attended Saxon Trade School and specialized in metal works. Like many lads his age he only made it to the middle of his senior year when he volunteered for service during the Korean War. While in Korea he fought in many battles to include the Chosen Reservoir. Private “Rocky” once spent three long winter months on the ice at Chosen Reservoir fighting the enemy and fighting the bitter cold. During his third month, as spring neared, the ice began to thaw and Private Rockwell Pond fell thru the ice but was saved by his fellow soldiers.

After the war Rocky returned home to Leominster and found employment at Leominster Ice Company where he worked for many years. Rocky’s favorite past time has always been fishing including ice fishing. It was the middle of March 1954 while he was ice fishing on the pond off of West Street and a group of kids were skating near by, when one of them fell thru the ice. Without any hesitation Rocky raced over to where the youngster went down, searched under the ice till he found him and pulled him to safety.

As a result of his heroic action the City of Leominster renamed the pond off of West Street to “Rockwell Pond” in his honor.

Google “Site” Search and Maps

Hello firebase116 members and guests.

I wanted to take a second to let you all know that I added “Google Site Search” to the webpage.  It’s on the top of the sidebar on the right.

Just put in your query and click the Google Search button.  It will open a ‘regular’ Google page with the results.  You’ll know the familiar Google interface.  One thing I really liked was that on the left side of the Google result page is Images that basically pull up every image on firebase116.

Also, from now on, whenever there is an address in a post or a page, I will embed Google Maps into the post or page.  Like this:


Vietnam Veteran’s of America Chapter 116
The Leominster Veteran’s Center
100 West Street  
Leominster, MA 01453

Clicking on the red balloon will produce a popup box telling about the location and will offer “Directions“, clicking on the highlighted “Directions” will extend an “A” to “B” location your just need to fill in “A” and click the “Get Directions” button.  You’ll also see an offer to “Print Directions“.

Feel free to email me if you have any problems, comments or suggestions about firebase116.org.

-J. Barry