Oxford VietNam Memorial
"VietNam War MemorialOxford CountyAll gave some, while some gave all'We're bringing them all home!'"
This memorial area is nicely located in downtown Rumford, where the Androscoggin River bends around the city. Even during the busiest of days, the area is peacful and offers every visitor the opportunity to sit and seriously ponder what these losses meant to Oxford County.
While the VietNam honor roll is the highlight of the presentation, there is a large area of paving bricks that honor the missing of it and many other wars. The expanded data blocks are sobering, revealing many stories of men missing in action, buried and sea, or otherwise lost in ways that make it impossible for a grieving family to properly mourn and commemorate their loved one.
Sometimes the action that surrounded the case of the missing man was very public, although shrouded in mystery born of the military need for secrecey. That is the case with the lost of Cdr Francis A Slattery, US Navy, who called nearby Paris, Maine, his hometown. Slattery was Commanding Officer of the USS Scorpion (SSN-589).
A nuclear submarine, by its very natures, always sails under covert circumstnces. In the early years the Amercian nuclear boats were far more capable than those of any other navy, a fact which allowed US Navy leadership and the American intelligence community to take risks. It wasn't unusual that Scorpion and others of its class be employed to surreptitiously enter territory of the Soviet Union. In fact, after it was sunk, stories of Scorpion sailing to inland waters of Russion came to light. Slattery's missions were as much about spying more than defense of the nattion.
On May 21st or 22nd of 1968, underwater sound recordings by the US Navy indicated that Scorpion had exceeded its' crush depth, and the hull disintegrated at 1,500 or 2,000 feet below sea level. During the half century since she sank, several books have been written about USS Scorpion. They all speculate about the circumstances of its' destruction; revenge for the sinking of a Russian sub, incomplete maintenance schedules, faulty equioment and every wild conspiracy theory possible. It is all interesting, but none of the plot lines can dispell the fact the Cdr Francis Slattery and his 98 shipmates will never again come home.
2nd Lt William A Bujold, USAAF, came home, but it took almost 62 years. He was the navigator aboard a B-17 shot down on a bombing raid to Rabul, New Guinea, on May 21, 1943. He left his fledgling career as an accountant to enter service in 1942. A year later he is dead and his family is left for the rest of their lives to wonder where "Bill" was resting.
Are you a resident of Oxford County, Maine? If so, please take a few moments to ensure these men never die. Pick a name to research. When you have learned the basic facts of their demise, track down a living relative and give them a call. Ask them to talk about that soldier, sailor, or airman. And when you arefinished with your call or personal visit but happy that you have help to honor that veteran and keep his spirit alive.