'On Watch' memorial remembers veterans and their sacrifices


Solomon's Island, MD - The “On Watch” Veteran’s Day dedication returned Sunday, Nov. 11, for its 11th year. The event took place in front of the “On Watch” statue located at the end of Dowell Road, overlooking Back Creek and Mill Creek. Around 75 were in attendance, mostly comprised of veterans and their families.

Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) organized the dedication hosted by Bruce Newell, a veteran and volunteer at the museum. After an invocation by Solomons United Methodist Church Pastor Dottie Yunger, the colors were presented by the Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax) Honor Guard. Former Maryland State Senator Bernie Fowler was among the guests at the ceremony and Captain Chris Cox, NAS Pax executive officer, was the keynote speaker.

Cox began by thanking former Calvert County Commissioner Linda Kelly, who played a vital role in the creation of the statue, and to the statue’s sculpture, Antonio Tobias Mendez. He then gave attendees a history lesson on the World War II U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base that the statue commemorates, providing context to the base’s importance to the war’s efforts.

According to the Maryland Historical Trust, the amphibious training base was designed to meet “the threats posed by the several fronts of World War II.” The base operated from 1942-1945 and, according to the plaques on the facility, trained “some 68,000 sailors, marines, Coast Guardsmen and soldiers.” The soldiers who trained there were “major components” in Guadalcanal, North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. The state took control of the base after its closure and sold it in 1959 for “use as a private yacht club and marina” which still exists on the peninsula today as Calvert Marina.

Following his history lesson, Cox was joined by Fowler to lay a wreath in front of the “On Watch” statue. Fowler whose brother served and died in World War II, lost his wife Betty Lou Fowler six days before the event on November 5, 2018. Pastor Yunger acknowledged this at the end of the ceremony, during her benediction, commending the former Senator for his dedication to the veterans.

The event concluded with snacks and refreshments for attendees.

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