The Star-Herald

Fort Fairfield Class of 1967 plans tribute to veterans

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The public is invited to a tribute to all military veterans of the Fort Fairfield High School Class of 1967 to be held on Saturday, July 21, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the VFW Paul-Lockhart Post 6187, 130 Presque Isle Street, Fort Fairfield.  

The tribute ceremony is scheduled to end approximately two hours prior to the Maine Potato Blossom Festival Parade to allow everyone ample time to attend the parade.

“This is the first-ever military tribute in Fort Fairfield,” said class representative Mary Rochford Hunter. “There were 45 classmates who entered into the military; 25 of them served in Vietnam, with one fatality. David Cox was killed in action, and his mother is going to be here to accept his recognition.”

LCPL David A. Cox, USMC, was killed in action in Vietnam on May 15, 1968.  

Major General Douglas Farnham, Maine’s Adjutant General, will give the keynote speech and present a certificate of appreciation from the citizens of Maine to each veteran present or to their representative.  COL (Retired) James Tinkham, ’67 classmate, will present a commemorative plaque to each veteran.

The Class of 1967 has purchased commemorative bricks with inscriptions for each veteran and these have now been placed in the VFW Memorial Garden.  Throughout the week of the festival, the class will honor its deceased military classmates by flying a full-size U.S. flag at their gravesite in Fort Fairfield.  These flags will be visible from the roadway and all are invited to stop and pay their respects. The class will also display a full-size KIA flag at Cox’s gravesite.

During its 50th class reunion last summer, the class voted to plan a ceremony to recognize their 45 classmates who served in the military during the Vietnam War era.

“The Vietnam veterans never received a proper welcome home for serving their country, while enduring many hardships and sacrifices,” said Hunter.  

The class plans to publish a book containing information about each of its military veterans as well as historical background. The book will include photos of the veterans and a copy of the inscription on their memorial bricks, as well as details about their military service including military specialty, duty assignments, medals and citations. Each veteran or their survivors will be encouraged to provide personal stories and details of their military service, lessons learned from their military experiences, their reflections on what military service meant to them, and how they adjusted afterwards to civilian life.

In addition to the veterans’ pages, photos and information on life in Fort Fairfield in the 1960s will be included to provide a historical background at the time the classmates went into military service.

Class members hope the book will show future generations about life in “small-town America” and the impact of the Vietnam War on its population. Publication is targeted for late 2019.

An estimated 150 students were a part of the FFHS Class of 1967, with 105 members graduating on June 8, 1967.  This is believed to be the largest class in the history of Fort Fairfield High School. Of the 45 military veterans in the class, 25 served in Vietnam.  Thirteen of the veterans are now deceased.

“The Class of 1967 also wishes to thank all military veterans who have served our country during other periods of conflict and those who are currently serving here and abroad,” said Hunter. “Our deepest and sincerest thanks to VFW Paul-Lockhart Post 6187 for hosting this event.  Its memorial garden is a true testament to the commitment to the Town of Fort Fairfield to honor and respect its military veterans.”

Veterans to be honored include: SGT Chester J. Adams, CPL Dale R. Barnes, SGT Lee A. Beaulieu, SP4 Kenneth Brooker, SP4 John W. R. Burns, SP5 Robert A. Burns, SP5 Claude Burtchell, A1C Philip Chambers (deceased), FA Wilson E. Chapman, SP4 Dana A. Chasse, SP5 Robert H. Chasse (deceased), SP4 David Churchill (deceased), LCPL David A. Cox (killed in action), SP4 Perry P. Dean, PVT Thomas Deschesne, SP5 Guy J. Dewley, PFC Graydon Dougherty, SP4 David Edgecomb, SP4 Jeffrey F. Everett, SGT Almon J. Goodwin (deceased), SP4 James F. Grass, SSG Jimmy F. Greenier, SP4 Timothy Howard, LCPL Dana H. Jewell (deceased), EM3 Ray Johnston III (deceased), PVT Wiliam Kearney (deceased), SP5 Wayne LeVasseur (deceased), SSG Brien D. Lynch (deceased), LTJG Jerome G. Lynch, CPL Robert W. Manter, SP4 Donald McAllister, SP5 Peter McKenney, SP5 Morris Michaud, LCPL Roger I. Monson (deceased), PFC Jeffrey Murchison, LTC Frances Neilson-Casey, PV1 Granville Robbins (deceased), SP4 Albridge Saucier, SSG Richard Saucier (deceased), SP4 Robert Shaw, SGT Peter T. Thibeau, COL James R. Tinkham, SP4 Roger Tremblay, EN3 George A. Walker and SP4 David A. Wigley.

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