Mervin Rowland
1918 – 2009
SOUTH PARIS — Cmdr. Mervin Rowland, 91, of Sumner, died peacefully at the Maine Veterans’ Home on July 31.
He was born June 21, 1918, in Marble, N.C. He attended area schools and graduated from Marble N.C. High school.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1939 and served in, American Theater — Japanese Occupation — Asiatic Pacific (3 stars), European African Middle Eastern (3 stars). Medals include, World War II Victory, Bronze Star Medal, American Defense (1star), Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct (3 stars), China Service and Navy Unit Commendation,
In 1952, he was commissioned an ensign and rose through the rank to retire as a commander in 1969.
He served on many ships, but the one he was proudest of was the USS Forrestal and its crew. Aboard this ship while in the Gulf of Tonkin Vietnam, on July 29, 1967, a disastrous fire broke out on the flight deck. Fire, exploding 1,000 pound and 500 pound bombs took the lives of 134 young sailors and came near sinking the ship.
As chief engineer, he was in charge of damage control and the fire fighting response, making him the one individual most responsible for saving the ship. His actions that day earned him the Bronze Star Medal.
He is survived by sons, Jack Rowland of Rumford, Stephen Rowland of Tiverton, R.I., and Andrew Rowland of Sumner; daughters, Noel Luecke of Sumner and Dianna Lovejoy of Buckfield; sisters, Mary Lou Rector of Ashville, N.C., and Francis Geisberger of Masala, Ohio; grandchildren, Jason Rowland, Vincent Rowland, Jacob Rowland, Abigail Rowland, Morgan Luecke, Brianna Luecke, Brandt Lovejoy and Stacey Scotia; and a great-grandson, Tucker Rowland.
He was predeceased by his wives, Fern Lane and Edna Dunham; and a grandson, Jack A. Rowland Jr.
While in the hospital this last time, he asked his grandson to e-mail members of the Forrestal Association. He dictated the following: “No sailors have ever been better than the Forrestal men who served for and with me, I love them all. They demonstrated the kind of men every commander would like to stand by him. So long to all of you.”
He was a “sailor to the end”

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