Bangor Victory Platoon
enlisted in the U.S. Navy. They were the largest group from Maine
to enlist in the Navy during World War II
Gilbert T. Soucy · Killed in Action
[Victory Platoon Members and Hometowns]
Dedicated August 22, 1998
Location. 44° 47.846′ N, 68° 46.42′ W. Marker is in Bangor, Maine, in Penobscot County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 202) and Cedar Street, on the left when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Davenport Park, Bangor ME 04401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Spanish-American War Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Spanish Bronze Cannon (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Place of Meeting (approx. 0.4 miles away); Samuel de Champlain (approx. 0.4 miles away); Saltonstall's Naval Fleet Gun (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hannibal Hamlin (approx. 0.4 miles away); War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Norumbega Parkway (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bangor.
Regarding Bangor Victory Platoon.
"When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, American boys in their sophmore or junior year of high school knew their career choices were limited from that point forward. They would be joining the fight as soon as the diploma was earned. Millions of them would eventually serve and none of them were untouched as the nation went onto war footing, bringing about a complete economic transformation.
The minimum military enlistment age, with parental consent, was 17. Tens of thousands of young men didn't bother to wait. Always looking for ways to boost morale and patriotic fervor, War Department PR types began to push military recruiting offices to gather up volunteers in easily defineable types. Some towns offered every graduating male of the senior class. Ethnic neighborhoods stepped forward as "Italian", "German", "Polish" and "Irish" volunteers. In Hawaii and California it was the Niesi Japanese boys, and native American units were formed to help out as code talkers.
Navy recruiters in Maine assembled a large group of 17 year old volunteers in front of the Spanish-American War memorial at Bangor on August 22, 1943. It was an inspiring scenario, 56 kids standing in front of the shield and scrolls that had decorated the bow of the great cruiser USS Maine. They recited their oath and then boarded busses to begin their journey to basic training - as a group.
The group pretty much stayed together, and their first assignment was to the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-18). The ship spent some time in Boston, Hampton Roads and Trinidad before transiting the Panama Canal outbound to the Pacific.
Wasp earned 8 battle stars for the crew before the war ended. All but one of the Maine sailors survived. SN 1st Class Gilbert Soucy was killed in action on March 19, 1945, as Wasp supported the Marines on Iwo Jima.
I was able to find obituaries for at least half a dozen of the Wasp group. They returned home and lived out their lives as auto salesmen, aircraft mechanics, farmers and merchants. I wish they were still with us and that I could talk to each of them about Soucy. "He and Joe Boulier came in from Portage," I would ask. And then, hopefully, a 17 year old kid would come to life in a memory as he stood with 55 others who answered the call of their country and made the step from boys to men."
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 24, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.