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Bridges and Buildings to Bear Names of Medal of Honor Recipients
Group Suggests Facilities to Honor Delaware War Heroes-
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
More than a dozen public buildings, facilities and bridges could soon be getting a name change. State Reps. Wayne Smith (R-Brandywine Hundred North) and Bill Oberle (R-Beecher's Lot) sponsored House Resolution 77, which was passed on the final day of the 141st General Assembly. The legislation requested the Delaware Commission on Veterans Affairs, the Office of Administrative Services and the Delaware Department of Transportation to develop a list of state properties suitable for honoring the 14 Delaware men who've earned the country's highest military decoration - the Medal of Honor.
Paul Cathell, President of the Delaware Medal of Honor Association, says he believes Delaware is among the few states - if not the first state - to make a commitment to honor all of its Medal of Honor recipients in this fashion. Part of the reason is Delaware's size. Larger states have more recipients, making the undertaking more extensive. For example, Mr. Cathell said neighboring Pennsylvania has over 370 Medal of Honor recipients."
Delaware is setting the pace as the First State," said Major General Frank Vavala, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard. "I hope others will follow suit."
Recommendations from the working group contain some of the state's most high-profile properties (see list), including the State Fire School near Dover and the Highway Administration Building. In selecting the sites, the working group chose locations that were in close proximity to the recipient's home of record.
Although state roads were considered, the idea was rejected because of the impact it would have had on the 911 system and residents living along the roadways.
Rep. Smith praised the working group's efforts. "I'm not sure this will end up being the final list, but it is a good first step to properly recognize our Medal of Honor recipients." State agencies and the Minner Administration will decide if the working group's recommendations are appropriate and, if not, what alternatives would be desirable. If the suggestions are implemented in their current form, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency Headquarters near Smyrna would be named after Leonard Chadwick. A Middletown native. Apprentice First Class Chadwick served on board the U.S.S. Marblehead and was cited for his cool demeanor under fire while conducting a "cable cutting operation" near Cienfuegos, Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
The Public Safety Building in Dover is recommended to be named in honor of Capt. James Parke Postles, a member of the First Delaware Infantry who distinguished himself at the Battle of Gettysburg. The new Motor Vehicle Inspection Lanes near Minquadale would be dedicated in honor of Sgt. James P. Connor, who led his men onto a French beach in the closing days of World War II to knock out German positions threatening a planned Allied landing. A hanging mine seriously wounded Sgt. Connor, but he refused medical care and led his men across a mine-laden beach. Although wounded two more times, a handful of survivors (fewer than a dozen) from Sgt. O'Connor's unit achieved their objective and captured 40 prisoners."
Each of these names carries with it a compelling story," Rep. Smith said. "I'd like to eventually have a plaque at each dedicated site detailing the exploits of these heroes. At a time when we are at war, it is especially appropriate that we remember these men from wars past and the hard won heroism that has ensured our freedom and liberty."
Mr. Cathell says he is especially pleased Mr. O'Connor is being memorialized. "Jim was Delaware's only living Medal of Honor recipient. He was very active in helping to ensure that Delaware veterans were remembered. After he passed away on July 27, 1994, my wife and I became very close to his widow, Betty.
"Mr. Connor was a very humble man," Mr. Cathell said. "He wasn't the type of person to brag or to promote himself. If he were alive today, he wouldn't say much but I'm sure he'd be very honored by this gesture."
Rep. Smith said he would like to see the renaming process proceed as quickly as possible and be concluded prior to the end of next year.
The Medal of Honor was first established during the Civil War, with the first award being made on March 25, 1863. According to the U.S. Army Center for Military History, 3,427 Medals of Honor have been presented. Nineteen individuals have received two, 14 of which received medals for two separate actions.
The list of potential dedication sites to honor Delaware's 14 MOH recipients is as follows:
1. Quartermaster Alexander Hand - State Service Center, Georgetown Civil War
2. 2nd Lieutenant Charles B. Tanner - State Fire School, New Castle Civil War
3. Captain James Parke Postles - Public Safety Building, Dover Civil War
4. Private John B. Maberry - Bridge, 2-001A-001 Civil War Dupont Highway over Mill Creek, Smyrna
5. Private Bernard McCarren - Bridge, 1-424-446 Civil War Wiggins Mill Pond, Middletown
6. 1st Sergeant John Shilling - Motor Vehicle Inspection Lanes Civil War Georgetown, DE
7. Captain Henry A. DuPont - Highway Administration Building Civil War Dover, DE
8. 1st Lieutenant David E. Buckingham - Bridge, 2-067A-067 Civil War Court Street over St. Jones River, Dover
9. Captain Samuel Rodmond Smith - Bridge, 2-001C-001 Civil War DuPont Highway over Duck Creek Smyrna
10. Wagoner Griffin Seward - State Fire School, Dover, DE Indian War Campaigns
11. Apprentice 1st Class Leonard Chadwick - DEMA Headquarters, Smyrna Spanish-American War
12. Private Charles H. Pierce - Bridge, 2-064A-064 Philippine Insurrection Smyrna Landing Road over Duck Creek Smyrna
13. Sergeant William Lloyd Nelson - State Police Headquarters, Dover World War II
14. Sergeant James P. Connor - Motor Vehicle Inspection LanesWorld War II Department of Public Safety Greater Wilmington
Delaware Medal of Honor Historical Association
303 Rothwell Drive
Stanton, DE 19804-2061
Paul Cathell, Jr., President
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