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    Maine Sailor First to Celebrate State’s 199th Birthday



    Story by Chief Petty Officer Mark Alvarez 

    Commander Task Force 75

    Santa Rita, GUAM - The morning was auspicious, but the weather wasn’t, with a stormy sky, intermittent rain and heavy winds, but for one Mainer, the tradition of planting a flag to commemorate the state’s birthday was going to happen no matter what.

    Navy Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Ed Bennett climbed to the top of Guam’s tallest peak, Mount Lam Lam, to plant the Maine state flag and celebrate Maine’s 199th birthday, March 15.

    Bennet has been practicing this tradition for 11 years, with the first instance occurring during a deployment to Iraq in 2008.

    The term Dirigo is featured on the state seal of Maine and translates to “I direct,” but for this Mainer it means a little more.

    “I’m proud to have flown the state flag all over the world,” said Bennett, a native of Milford Maine. “I think of our state motto, Dirigo, as a call to me and my fellow Mainers to have an adventure and be a leader. But more importantly, be a good example of an American.”

    The highest point on Guam is Mount Lam Lam with an elevation of 1,334 feet; however, Lam Lam is the Peak of a submerged mountain, which rises 37,820 feet above the floor of the Marianas Trench, the greatest ocean depth in the world. If mountains were defined by their base to their peak without regard to the water, Lam Lam would be considered the tallest mountain on earth with a summit of 39,154 feet.

    Since that first flag ceremony in Iraq, Bennett has continued the tradition in Columbia, Panama, Guatemala and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

    “I wish all states did something,” said Bennett. “It’s a way of connecting with your hometown as well as brining the memories of them along on your journey.”

    Guam has an unofficial, but frequently used territorial motto of "Where America's Day Begins," which refers to the island's close proximity to the international date line. Right now, Guam is 17 hours ahead of Pacific Time and 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time respectively, making this 26 year Navy veteran one of the first Mainers to celebrate 199 years of statehood.

    Bennett is forward-deployed to Guam as the Senior Enlisted Leader for Coastal Riverine Squadron 2, attached to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 Detachment Guam.

    CRG 1 Detachment Guam is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75, the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving engineering and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.



    Date Taken: 03.15.2019
    Date Posted: 03.15.2019 02:12
    Story ID: 314304
    Location: SANTA RITA, US
    Hometown: MILFORD, ME, US

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