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Memorial at Martinsburg VA center honors submarine vets

October 05, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Submarine veterans were honored Saturday at the dedication of the Submarine Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The memorial was provided by the United States Submarine Veterans of the Tri-State Base, which serves Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Tri-State Vice Commander Doug Smith, a Vietnam submarine veteran and the master of ceremonies, said about 3,500 submariners died during World War II. Smith served for 14 years as a submariner.

Ann Brown, director of the medical center, said her grandfather was a submariner in World War II.

"He did not talk about it much," Brown said.

"All today stands on the shoulders of past submariners. More than 4,000 lost their lives as submariners," she said. "We are honored to be a part of this monument."

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Four Tri-State Submarine Veterans who served during World War II placed a wreath next to the memorial.

Pat White, a submariner for 13 years, served for two years in the Pacific on the USS Sterlet. George Hinda, a submariner for 20 years, served in the Pacific on the USS Greenling. Russell Swart, who served for 22 years, taught diesel mechanics at the U.S. Navy Pier in Chicago, and John Lehman was a submariner for three years in the Pacific on the USS Barb.

Cali Coulthard of the medical center's public affairs office said she worked closely with Smith for several months to get the memorial in place at the VA Center.

"This shows what all of the men and women are willing to do for U.S. citizens to ensure our freedom," Coulthard said.

Coulthard said more than 50 people attended the event.

Tri-State Base veterans also have placed memorials in Waynesboro, Pa., and Frederick, Md.

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