Service medals presented to New Sweden’s Chapman

12 years ago
Contributed photo
Jeffrey Chapman of New Sweden will receive his Valorous Unit Award and five other awards for his service in the Vietnam War at a ceremony slated for this afternoon at the Caribou Vet Center. From left are Jeffrey Chapman, his wife Cecilia Chapman and Congressman Mike Michaud.

CARIBOU — It may have taken two years and some help from his congressman, but Jeffrey Chapman of New Sweden has finally received the medals he earned during the Vietnam War.

Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee, Congressman Mike Michaud presented Chapman with the medals during a ceremony at the Caribou Vets Center on July 21.

Presented medals include the Valorous Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, Good Conduct Medal, Republican of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Expert Qualification Badge with Rifle Bar.

In December 2010, Chapman first went to Michaud’s office seeking assistance in obtaining his Valorous Unit Award; Chapman had been unable to receive his award in person after he was forced to make a decision between traveling to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, to personally receive the award, and staying behind with his wife, who was battling cancer.

He decided to stay home.

Born in Washburn on May 6, 1946, Chapman enlisted into the US Army on November 16, 1965 because he felt that he was going to be drafted into the military services anyway, due to the accelerated level of conflict with Vietnam.

After completing basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, Chapman went on to engineering school at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri. After fulfilling the qualifications for his specialty schooling, he was sent over to Son Nhut Air Force Base in Vietnam.

Chapman served with A Company, 3rd Platoon, and 3rd Squad of the 19th Engineer Battalion during his two tours of duty overseas. He was in Vietnam for the May 1966 counteroffensive and July 1966 counteroffensive II, along with part of counteroffensive III. He left South Vietnam just before Christmas of 1967.

The US Department of Army issued a Valorous Unit Award to the 19th Engineer Battalion for their service from July 16, 1966 to December 31, 1967 for their extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy; Chapman was one of three men from Maine to receive this Unit Award.

Chapman stated that he was on a mine sweep team from Saigon north to Hanoi. They worked hard and watched out for one another day and night. Their team primarily covered the area on, and around the Highway QL-1, which was also known as the “street without joy”. Many of the members of his team, along with countless others, did not make it home.

After he fulfilled his obligations overseas he returned home, when he was discharged on August 20, 1968.

Chapman later married Cecilia, who he met during potato harvest time in 1965. They have one daughter, Denise.