Honoring our heroes



PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guardsmen hosted approximately 100 Korean War veterans along with their spouses and family members Sept. 30 at Base Portsmouth.

The group Veterans of the Korean War visited the Coast Guard base as part of their annual reunion, held this year from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Virginia Beach.

The veterans were welcomed by more than 100 active-duty Coast Guard members who formed a line along the base entrance, saluting the veterans as they arrived in buses. Throughout the day, the veterans met with Coast Guard men and women and toured facilities, representing a vast assortment of skills and missions.

Representatives from Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Sector Hampton Roads, Maritime Security Response Team, Regional Dive Locker East, Cutter Kennebec, Cutter Shearwater, Station Portsmouth and others provided demonstrations and engaged the veterans in conversation.

Prospective Chief Petty Officers involved in Chief’s Call to Indoctrination with The Greater Tidewater Chiefs’ Mess assisted as escorts for the veterans.

Chief Petty Officer Loren Powers (left), a diver at Coast Guard Regional Dive Locker East in Portsmouth, Va., assists a Korean War veteran in trying on a Kirby Morgan 37SS (stainless steel) dive helmet Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, at Base Portsmouth, Va.“It was an honor and privilege to spend time with some of America’s very finest,” said Capt. Christopher Keane, Sector Hampton Roads commander. “People whose sacrifice and courage embodies the very best of what it means to be American. People whose sacrifices are the reason we are here today. We greatly enjoyed our time with them, hearing of their experiences and sharing what we do to protect this great nation.”

“I really enjoyed learning about the Sector Hampton Roads communication systems in the command center,” said Leonard Shifflette, Marine and Korean War veteran from Harrisonburg, Virginia. “The modern technology is just outstanding.”

“I think most of us will never forget when we came through the gate today and saw all the Coast Guardsmen lined up saluting us,” said Guy Taylor, Marine and Korean War veteran from Galveston, Texas. “Most of us have never been honored quite like that – that’s what most of us are going to take home with us.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Iulo (right), a maritime enforcement specialist at the Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team in Chesapeake, Va., explains features of an MK-18 to Korean War veteran Mac McCord Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Va.