BOOTHBAY HARBOR — The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services and Maine National Guard were pleased to present Cpl. Curtis W. West, originally from Steuben and currently from Boothbay, with the Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal and Certificate on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Zimmerli Pavilion at St. Andrews Village.
Capt. Jonathan Bratten, Maine National Guard historian, presented a certificate and letter from Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, and a challenge coin was presented by Command Chief Warrant Officer David Cheney. The 43rd Infantry Division “Winged Victory” sent their regards and veterans and members of the American Legion Post 36 stood to salute Cpl. West at the end of the ceremony.
Acting Director David Richmond commented at the ceremony: “Imagine the conditions Corporal West served under when he was shot and wounded, patched up by a medic, and then sent back into the jungle to fulfill his duties with the Signal Corps. Recognizing the service and sacrifice of Maine’s veterans is one of the highlights of my duty as acting director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. It was an absolute honor to meet with Corporal West and his family and friends at the Zimmerli Pavilion in Boothbay Harbor and to recognize him for his dedicated years of service in the U.S. Army during the Second World War.”
Corporal West enlisted in the Maine National Guard at the age of 17, on Dec. 7, 1939. He served with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 43rd Infantry Division Artillery in the Pacific Theater, and served with the Signal Corps. During the war, he served in New Zealand, New Caledonia (a French Island), Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Luzon, the Russell Islands, Arundel Island (part of the Solomon Islands), Munda Island, Aitape, and the Philippines.
While serving on Munda Island, Cpl. West contracted malaria, suffered from jungle rot, and had an almost fatal allergic reaction to salt tablets the men were given by the U.S. Army to help combat dehydration. He was also shot and wounded while serving on Munda Island and was later awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions on the island when he single-handedly repaired a vital communications cable while under fire that had been accidentally run over by a half track, cutting it in two and leaving the general unable to communicate with the rest of the island.
After serving his country for six years, Cpl. West was discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, on Aug. 25, 1945. He was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with three bronze stars and one Bronze Service Arrowhead, the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star, The World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and American Campaign Medal for his service.
About Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services
The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services was established in 1947 by the State of Maine and is part of the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. Our mission is to help Mainers who served, and their loved ones, understand and navigate the benefits, services, and programs available to them. The Bureau does this by being a responsive, experienced, and dedicated advocate. The Bureau is headquartered at Camp Keyes, Augusta, Maine and has seven field service offices located throughout the state and a claims office located at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Togus, Maine. The Bureau also operates the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery System which includes four veterans’ cemeteries. For information about the Bureau or to request assistance, please visit our website at www.maine.gov/veterans.