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By Martha Jane East
The American Legion Teachenor Post 376 at Shelbina conducted a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 31, to honor the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect their country.
Post Commander Gale Buckman conducted the ceremonial service with the POW/MIA Table and the Post Memorial Pledge to Comrades.
The guest speaker was STSCM (SS) Ret. Aaron D. Kendrick. Kendrick enlisted in the U.S. Navy following high school at South Shelby. He was a crew member on USS Batfish SSN-681 from 1993-1998. Following that tour he became an Acoustic Intelligence Specialist with the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington D.C. As an ACINT Specialist he was deployed on over 25 submarine special operations around the world, retiring in 2016 after 24 years of service.
Kendrick said, “Many often think of Memorial Day as a day to remember only those lost in combat, however an additional 539,000 service men and women have lost their lives to non-combat related incidents. … you have to TRAIN like you’re going to FIGHT!”
He gave the details of the loss of the USS Thresher SSN-593 (a boat in a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines) during sea trials. Following investigation, a Submarine Safety Program of SUBSAFE was begun. Since the inception of this program there has not been a SUBSAFE certified submarine lost.
“The sacrifice of those 129 men has saved 10s of 1,000s of submariner’s lives,” Kendrick continued.
Kendrick also called attention to another war encountered by soldiers, sailors and airmen, the battle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
“We are here to honor the sacrifices made by over one million heroes who died while defending this country since the American Revolution,” he said.
Commander Buckman read the names of veterans with connections to Shelby County who had died during the past year. They are: Billy Moore, Carroll Franklin, Larry Thrasher, Steve White, Roy Roger Sherwood, Clarence (Butch) Ruthruff, Neal Livingston, Paul Ensor, Elton Morgan, Herbert Mahaffey, Bill Wilt, Glenn (Pete) Greening, Kevin Todd, Ed Mahoney, Charles B. Baker, Bill Staggs, Frank Lucas, Dan Carpenter Sr., Ben Blackford, Don Helmich, Danton Vandiver, Wallace Prince, Timothy Farris, LaRue Baker and Learel Peak.
Myrna Schroy and Connie Schwieter led in singing, the “National Anthem” and “God Bless America.”
Larry Mitchell, Chaplain, gave the opening prayer and the benediction.
The service was concluded outside with volleys by the Post Honor Guard and TAPS.
A picnic style lunch was provided by the Sons of the American Legion.