CALAIS, Maine — It has been nearly 68 years since Edward K. Brown was an aerial gunner in a B-17 bomber that was shot down while on a mission over Frankfurt am Main in central Germany.
While none of the aircraft’s crew members was killed in a crash landing, Brown and others on board in the spring of 1944 were besieged and beaten by civilians who swarmed to the disabled B-17.
“They were angry about what they and their families had been put through,” said Brown, who is now 92 and living in the Washington County community of Dennysville.
For the next 10 months, until liberated by Russian troops, Brown was a prisoner of war.
“They moved us around a lot,” he recalled. “We wound up in the squeeze between American troops and the Russian army. The Russians got to us first, and we were united with the Yanks, who at that point were at the Elb [River].”
Brown held the rank of sergeant when the war ended, and on Thursday he was among the recipients of the Maine Silver Star during a 90-minute veterans recognition ceremony held at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Calais.
The honorable service medal is awarded to Maine veterans who were wounded or captured while in a combat zone. Twenty such medals were awarded Thursday to 10 World War II veterans and 10 others who served in Korea, Vietnam and in the global war on terror. Forty-five other veterans received certificates of appreciation for their stints in the military.
Also honored Thursday by the 120 people who attended the event were eight women who served in either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy, including two World War II U.S. Army veterans, Muriel Gustadeson (Dolten) of Baring and Dorothy E. Hunt (Dwelley) of Calais.
The ceremony also included recognition of the Rev. David O. Sivret of Calais, who retired last December after 21 years as a Maine Army National Guard chaplain. Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, retired adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, was among those who spoke glowingly of Sivret’s service and the impact he had on young soldiers, including those he ministered while attached to Maine’s 133rd Engineer Battalion when it was deployed to northern Iraq in 2004.
On Dec. 22, 2004, Sivret was among the 60 soldiers and civilians wounded when a bomb exploded in a mess tent at Camp Marzel in Mosul, Iraq. The bomb killed 22 others as they were eating lunch, including two soldiers from Maine who were well known to the chaplain. The blast knocked Sivret to the floor and he later noticed, while praying with the wounded and performing last rites on those dismembered or killed, that he was among the wounded. His proximity to the blast left him temporarily deaf, and he took a piece of shrapnel in his right knee.
During Thursday’s ceremony, Sivret was promoted to the rank of major by Libby and presented with a series of certificates of appreciation for his tenure with the Maine Army National Guard, including one signed by Commander in Chief Barack Obama.
Thursday’s event and a reception that followed were sponsored by VFW Post No. 9779 of Calais and were held in the church where Sivret served as rector for many years before his recent retirement.
Honored on Thursday were:
Prisoners of war
Sgt. Edward K. Browne Jr. of Dennysville, Army, POW in Germany
Pfc. Frederick H. Hamilton of Baileyville, Army, POW in Germany
Purple Heart recipients
World War II
Sgt. Donald E. Cushing of Pembroke, Army
T/5 Lloyd B. Gibbs of Baileyville, Army
Pfc. Herman L. Gibson of Calais, Army
Sgt. Earl A. Gould of Princeton, Army
T/5 Melvin H. Greenlaw of Calais, Army
Staff Sgt. Ernest G. McKay of Calais, Army
F1/c Hollis E. Matthews of Eastport, Navy
Cpl. Edward E. Southard Jr. of Baring, Marines
Sgt. Lawrence W. Gillespie of Calais, Marines
1st Sgt. Philip M. Farrell of Perry, Army
Spc. 4 Dana C. Gillespie of Calais, Army
Sgt. John E. Harvey of Baileyville, Army
Cpl. Milan S. Jamieson Jr. of Pembroke, Marines
Sgt. Darald M. Mitchell of Robinson, Marines
Spc. 4 Calvin A. Preston of Dennysville, Army
Spc. 4 Dalton E. Thompson, Army
Sfc. Frank A. Young of Eastport, Army
World War II
1st Lt. John K. Brooks, Army
Sgt. Walter Emery, Royal Air Force
Cpl. Paul R. Johnson, Marines
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ronald E. O’Neil, Army
Pfc. Robert J. Sivret, Army
Capt. Arthur L. Carter, Army
Spc. 2nd Class Richard Smith, Army, Korea
Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class John W. Smith, Navy, Korea
Yeoman Chief Petty Officer Gary R. Urquhart, Navy, Korea/Vietnam
Cpl. Ricky W. Bowen, Marines, Vietnam
Sgt. Claude J, Chabre, Marines, Vietnam
Spc. 4 Bruce D. Glanville, Army, Vietnam
Spc. 4 William S. Follis III, Army, Vietnam
Spc. 5 Larry J. Hamilton, Army, Vietnam
Master Sgt. Leonard D. Hanson, Marines, Vietnam
Staff Sgt. Douglas L. Hoover, Army, Vietnam
Staff Sgt. John Knapp, Army, Vietnam
NCC(SW) Vincent H. Lodge, Navy, Vietnam
Sgt. Chester McCary, Army, Vietnam
Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. McLean, Army, Vietnam
Sgt. James F. Moffitt, Army, Vietnam
SK1(SS) Raymond L. Morse, Navy, Vietnam
ADC David R. Murphy, Navy, Vietnam
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas R. Ries, Army, Vietnam
GMG3 Richard W. Sammer, Navy, Vietnam
Spc. 4 Robert J. Sivret, Army
Boatswain’s Mate 3 David R. Sousa, Navy
Spc. 5 Paul L. Spinney, Air Force
Sgt. Victor J. Voisine, Army
Maj. John W. Nelson, Army, Desert Storm/Operation Iraqi Freedom
Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class Nathan J. Hammick, Navy, Persian Gulf
Sgt. Leonard E. Hanson II, Maine Army National Guard, Persian Gulf
Staff Sgt. Aubrey R. Jollotta, Army, Persian Gulf
Chief Warrant Officer 3, Mark M. Kennedy, Coast Guard, Persian Gulf
Staff Sgt. Cory R. McIver, Maine Army National Guard, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Sgt. James C. Myers, Maine Army National Guard, Persian Gulf
Sgt. Robert S. Oliver Jr., Maine Army National Guard, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Master Sgt. Kevin G. Woodward, Air Force, Vietnam/Desert Storm
1st Lt. David S. Borm, Air Force
Spc. 5 Gilbert R. O’Brien, Maine Army National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class Walter Cummings, Maine Army National Guard
QM3 Michael A. Reynolds, Coast Guard