ROCKLAND – The Northeast Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors’ Association will meet on Saturday, June 19, at the Coast Guard station as part of D.E. Day observation services.

Gov. John Baldacci proclaimed June 19 as D.E. Day in the state to honor those who sailed on destroyer escort ships. All chapters throughout the United States will hold special ceremonies for the day, which falls on the third Sunday in June each year.

Lunch will be provided by Coast Guard cooks and served in the crew’s quarters. Weather permitting, crew members will bring the DESA members and guests on a tour of Rockland’s harbor in a patrol boat.

Destroyer escorts were unique vessels built during World War II to accompany convoys between the Atlantic Coast and Europe. The ships, which usually carried about 200 sailors, were later used in missions throughout the Pacific.

Fifteen were sunk by enemy fire in World War II. The greatest destroyer escort tragedy occurred in March 1944, when 170 men were lost when the USS Leopold was torpedoed south of Iceland.

DESA will hold its annual national meeting in Fort Mitchell, Ky., in September. The organization has approximately 8,000 members. Sailors who served on a destroyer escort in World War II, Korea or Vietnam and are interested in becoming a member of DESA can contact Jack Coady at 782-6443, Normand Demers at 782-6468, or Andy Durisko at 353-2750.

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