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July 01, 1999

Serving The Communities of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport, Edgecomb

Vol. 123-No. 56

Coast Guard Honors Former Auxiliary Member F. Fuller Dunton

Kevin Burnham

Frank Fuller Dunton of Boothbay Harbor, one of the few World War II Coast Guard Auxiliary members still living, was honored Tuesday, June 22 at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in West Boothbay Harbor.

Dunton, 90, was presented with World War II Victory and American Theater Campaign medals for his services as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary from June 1943 to late 1944. The presentation was made by Admiral John B. "Jack" Hayes, USCG (Ret.) of West Boothbay Harbor as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

"Fuller, a special congratulations to you today," said Hayes, before he pinned the medals on Dunton's suit coat. "You performed a duty essential to our wartime effort."

Dunton, who thanked everyone for the recognition at the conclusion of the ceremony, worked full time in a shipyard during the day, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Two days a week, he went straight from work to his Auxiliary assignment aboard a patrol boat where he worked from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. According to information supplied by Auxiliary member Palmer Payne of Boothbay Harbor, who also helped secure Dunton's medals from the government, "Fuller says he got very tired during some of those days and nights. He tried to enlist in the Navy but was told that he had an irregular heartbeat--so he continued building vessels for the Navy in the shipyard and patrolling, without pay, with the Auxiliary.

"In the rush to resume civilian routines 54 years ago, the government was not able to catch up with everyone entitled to recognition. Today, as we mark the 60th anniversary of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we are privileged to present Frank Fuller Dunton with what he was supposed to receive back in 1945." BMC Ken Gibson, Officer In Charge at Coast Guard Station, West Boothbay Harbor, read Payne's brief biography of Dunton before introducing Admiral Hayes who made the presentation to Dunton with assistance from Payne. Payne also presented Dunton with a World War II pin, the Honorable Service lapel button (commonly referred to by ex-service people as a "ruptured duck"). Former Auxiliary member Cliff Huskins, who had received his medals (along with Asa Tupper Jr.) for his World War II service last year, was also in attendance.

Senator Marge Kilkelly (D-Wiscasset) read two proclamations from the State. The first was to honor Dunton for his World War II service and the other was to honor the Auxiliary's 60 years of volunteer service to recreational boating public and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Auxiliary's proclamation was accepted by Flotilla Commander Mike McCormick.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla in Boothbay Harbor was formed with a call from volunteers in June of 1943. During its 15 months of existence, more than 100 men from this region came forward and pledged to give at least 12 hours a week for such important tasks as harbor patrol and other types of port security work. The unit was disbanded late in 1944 following Germany's surrender and the victory in Europe. It was not until a year later that Washington decided that those Auxiliarists, while not qualified as service veterans, were entitled to the World War II Victory medal and, in some cases, the American Theater Campaign medal, based on the hours they had contributed. "Today, as was true during World War II, the Coast Guard Auxiliary does a magnificent job," said Hayes. "Without the Auxiliary, the Coast Guard would be hard pressed to carry out its duties."

Obituary of Frank Fuller Dunton

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