Two groups honored for aid to veterans Ceremonies set for today aboard Liberty ship Brown

November 11, 1998|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

World War II veterans and volunteers of the Baltimore Liberty ship S.S. John W. Brown will honor two national organizations for their service to veterans in war and peace at 10 a.m today, Veterans Day.

The Brown's master, Paul Esbensen, will present the ship's first "Golden Rivet" Awards to Major Mike Reagan, general secretary and Baltimore area commander of the Salvation Army, and Donald Johns, senior vice president for Red Cross Chapter Services.

The award recognizes their "outstanding services to the American merchant marine and armed forces."

The public is invited to the ceremony in the No. 1 hold of the World War II vessel berthed at Key Highway and Webster Street. Scores of armed forces, Red Cross and Salvation Army veterans are expected to attend.

During World War II, the Salvation Army operated the USO (United Service Organization) centers while the Red Cross provided day rooms, ambulance service, books and more.

The Baltimore chapter of the Red Cross supplied 14 million articles of surgical dressing to the war effort.

During the ceremony, Arthur D. Baker, retired member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and a civilian Navy employee for 30 years, will talk on "Veterans and Liberty Ships."

Joseph T. Colgan, a Navy Armed Guard veteran who served on two Liberty ships in the Atlantic and Pacific in World War II, said a wreath will be placed on the water at 11: 11 a.m., marking the 80th anniversary of the World War I armistice.

Colgan is an officer of Project Liberty Ship, which owns the vessel and is run entirely with volunteer help and funds.

The Brown helped land troops during the invasion of southern France in World War II. Its crew of Navy gunners shot down at least one enemy plane during the operation.

The Brown was built in 1942 at the Bethlehem Steel Corp. shipyards in Baltimore. Its rivets are being replaced over several years to make it more seaworthy. It visited Charleston, S.C., in August and there are tentative plans for a voyage to the Great Lakes in two years.

On Sunday, during its annual troop homecoming re-enactment, the Brown carried 400 veterans from Dundalk Marine Terminal to a temporary berth at Key Highway.

Pub Date: 11/11/98

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