Coupeville hosts veterans recognition

Veterans helped place flags of each branch of the service during a somber Veterans Day recognition organized by the Town of Coupeville and held at the memorial at the Island County  campus. - Nathan Whalen photo
Veterans helped place flags of each branch of the service during a somber Veterans Day recognition organized by the Town of Coupeville and held at the memorial at the Island County campus.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen photo

Dozens of patriotic residents took some time Monday to honor the men and women who served this country.

The Town of Coupeville organized a Veterans Day recognition ceremony late Monday morning for veterans of every branch of the armed forces. Taking place at the Veterans Memorial located at the Island County campus, veterans from each branch unfurled a flag while members of the Shifty Sailors sang each branch’s song.

“Veteran’s Day was originally established in recognition of the end of ‘The Great War,’ World War I,” Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said during the ceremony. “Fighting ceased in that war at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. Regrettably, additional wars and conflicts occurred after World War I.”

Conard also took time to mention the background of each of the veterans unfurling flags.

• Lt. Col. James Puhr, U.S. Army: Puhr served in the Army from 1951 to 1971. His career included tours of duty consisted of Germany, Korea and Vietnam. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.

• Lt. Col. David Sullivan, U.S. Marine Corps: Sullivan served in active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from January 1966 to January 1970. Serving as a captain, he was posted in Vietnam working as a Vietnamese language, pacification and intelligence officer. He served in the reserve until retiring in 1993.

• Capt. Jill Usher, U.S. Navy: Usher served as a line officer from 1972 to 1988. She served in Washington DC; Conterey, Calif; Seattle; and Barbados, West Indies. Prior to her retirement, she was assigned to San Diego where she oversaw Navy housing.

• Col. William Bradkin, U.S. Air Force: Bradkin served in the air force from 1956 to 1959 and the reserve from 1960 to 1988. His active-duty assignments in the Central Pacific and his reserve assignments included deployments to Germany, Korea and numerous stateside locations.

• Capt. Richard Collins, U.S. Coast Guard: Collins graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1957 and served until 1986. He served on a cutter and commanded a Coast Guard station in the Philippines. His later assignments included posts in San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis.

• Ken Bishop representing John Moon, Merchant Marine: Moon in 1944 entered the Merchant Marine at the age of 16. He served on Liberty Ships that ventured throughout the South Pacific during World War II. Following the war, he enlisted in the Navy.

• Dick Johnson, representing Bill Ethridge, unfurled the POW/MIA flag: Johnson is a veteran of the United States Army and he is a representative of the Disabled American Veterans, which is also the custodian of the memorial. Ethridge wasn’t able to attend the Monday morning ceremony.

Ethridge served in the United States Army Air Corps.

He was a bombardier in a B-17 that was shot down in Germany during World War II.

Ethridge, along with other crew members, spent the remainder of the war in POW camps. He wrote a book about is experiences and he also advocated for the county veterans memorial.

Andy Walker, a member of the Shifty Sailors, sang the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the ceremony and the crowd joined in a rousing rendition of God Bless America at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Coupeville’s veteran’s recognition was one of several events taking place to recognize the holiday on the island.


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