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Military
By Navy MCS 2nd Class Lily Daniels

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World War II, Vietnam Veterans In
Portland Receive Congressional Recognition

(November 21, 2009)

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PORTLAND (11/17/2009 - NNS) -- More than 40 World War II and Vietnam veterans received congressional recognition during a ceremony at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), Portland Nov. 14.

Capt. Edward Brands, from Commander, Submarine Group 7 Detachment Alpha, along with U.S. Rep. David Wu, presented certificates of Special Congressional Recognition.

"This is one of the two most poignant ceremonies I get to do. This is a happy ceremony because I get to say my thanks on behalf of a grateful nation," said Wu.

Brands represented the NOSC by thanking veterans as he co-presented with Wu, as well as reciting a letter to the veterans from the secretary of the Navy during the ceremony.

"I'm honored to be here. We're here today as a direct result of their sacrifices," said Brands in reference of all veterans.

The veterans were from various branches of the military. Those who were eligible for the certificate either served in the U.S. Navy assigned as a member of a gun crew on board merchant ships as part of the Naval Armed Guard Service during World War II, or served in the Vietnam War and were eligible to receive either the Vietnam Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

During World War II, some members of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard were stationed aboard merchant ships, which were used as cargo ships for transporting supplies. According to Julia Krahe, communications director for Wu, many of these Sailors and Soldiers have yet to be recognized for their service of defending the merchant ships.

Former Yeoman 1st Class Henry Drexel, Jr. trained gun crews for the merchant ships while stationed in San Diego and Pearl Harbor from 1942 to 1945. "This [ceremony] is great. It was very nice," said Drexel.

The sentiments expressed by Drexel were shared amongst many of the veterans. "I really appreciate Congressman Wu for putting this together. He always supports veterans' issues," said former Army Lt. Col. William Kroger, who was honored for his service during the Vietnam War.

Legislation was passed in 1999 to give members of Congress the authority to recognize the contribution of these veterans. Veterans who received the certificates were those who reside in Oregon's 1st Congressional District, which is Wu's district.

"We're getting lots of interest from other members of Congress who are interested in replicating this ceremony. This is only the second of its kind in the country," said Krahe.

By Navy MCS 2nd Class Lily Daniels
Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Detachment Northwest
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Navy News Service

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