Memorial Day Committee
Richie Lincoln honored with singular recognition by Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis,
friends, and others
On an invigorating fall day in mid-October, over thirty family members, veterans and friends gathered at Richie Lincoln’s current abode, the Maine Veterans Home, to bear witness to hearing the incredible untold story of one of Wayne’s World War 2 heroes. Dressed in a crisp suit and signature bowtie, with flag and Bronze Star pins, Richie smiled proudly but humbly, as his service as a First Scout was recounted by Wayne’s Bobby Charles, former Assistant Secretary of State.
Enlisting at age seventeen, Richie was one of four Lincoln brothers to go to war. Richie had the extraordinarily difficult job of scout, sneaking against enemy lines at night and using flares to illuminate enemy positions while also moving between the fighting lines by day to observe critical threats and opportunities for his own unit. His service was instrumental in helping the U.S. Army’s 88th “Blue Devils” Infantry Division, the first division to enter a combat zone, advance through Italy in some of the most difficult action of the war, ultimately entering Rome on June 4, 1944, his eighteenth birthday. The 88th suffered heavy casualties with nearly 2,300 lost and 9,000 wounded, of a total strength of about 14,000. When asked to what he attributed his battlefield survival, at 5 foot five, he said, “I was short,” and very lucky, apparently.
Richie was presented an inscribed copy of the book Anzio, which tells the story of one of the pivotal battles of the war, days ahead of the better known Normandy invasions. Presented by former Maine Senator and Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, the book also bore inscribed messages of gratitude by Secretary of Defense, General, James Mattis, General Paul Kern, US Army (ret.) and General Joe Ralston, USAF (ret.) Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 2000-2003. Personally written letters were read from Senator Cohen and General Mattis.
However, the program opened with a striking video segment of an address given the week earlier by General Mattis to the US Army Association. In closing his remarks to the thousands of assembled Army personnel, General Mattis paused, and then spoke eloquently and respectfully about the example of bravery and dedication to service of “a ninety-one year old veteran living in Wayne, Maine,” and recounted at length the story of Richard Lincoln. He then commended Richie for helping “set the standard for patriotic commitment,” acknowledging that “today’s soldiers build confidence from your stoic example.” These four minutes are a must-see for any proud Wayner.
A transcript of Secretary Mattis address made available from the U.S. Secretary of Defense website, go to: https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1337675/. A very thorough article may be found at the Kennebec Journal website, go to: http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/10/14/wayne-world-war-ii-veterans-service-lauded-by-secretary-of-defense/. And, finally a video recording of the entire program of recognition can be seen on You Tube, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD4PBxCwkVg&feature=youtu.be
Richie marched in an impressive 58 consecutive Memorial Day parades in Wayne; it is humbling to finally hear of the remarkable work, talents, dangers and event-changing actions of our own neighbor and American hero.
Congratulations, Richie, for your recognition but, most importantly, thank you for your efforts to contribute so significantly to the way our lives have been blessed.
(article from Wayne Messenger - November 2017)