AUGUSTA, Maine — During a ceremony March 28, at Camp Keyes in Augusta, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree presented an 88-year-old Augusta man who had served in the U.S. Navy’s Armed Guard during WWII with an award to honor his service.
Linwood Butterfield served as a gunner on board a merchant ship during the war, and sailed in the Pacific. Butterfield said the merchant ship went unescorted and was vulnerable to enemy attacks, but added that he wasn’t afraid, “because we were just kids and didn’t know any better.”
The Armed Guard was part of the U.S. Navy and its personnel were responsible for defending merchant ships against attacks. Because it was disbanded after WWII, little has been done to honor the veterans who served in those units. Although no official recognition has ever been created for Armed Guard veterans, Pingree said she felt people like Butterfield should be honored.
“Mr. Butterfield served his country bravely at considerable risk to himself, and his actions should not be forgotten,” Pingree said. “He deserves recognition of his service.”
Pingree was joined by Brig. Gen. James Campbell, the Adjutant General of the Maine Army National Guard. About two dozen Guard members watched as Butterfield received his award, and lined up afterward to congratulate and thank him for his service.
“I’m very grateful that Gen. Campbell and the members of the Maine Army National Guard allowed us to hold this ceremony at Camp Keyes and participated in the ceremony. I know it meant a lot to Mr. Butterfield,” Pingree said.
The award Pingree presented Butterfield read: Honoring LinwoodHoyt Butterfield, Seaman First Class, for his brave service to our nation in the U.S. Navy Armed Guard June 22, 1943-March 7, 1946. Without the courage and sacrifice of the men of the Armed Guard, victory in World War II would have been much more difficult and taken much longer.