At long last, Dover World War II veteran receives his medals
From left, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, presents Thomas Nugent, 92, of Dover, with several medals and honors – including the Navy Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, a discharge button and an honorable service lapel button — he earned during World War II at her Rochester office Friday morning. Nugent, who enlisted in 1942, served as a baker and left the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer 1st Class in 1946. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
On Friday, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) presented Thomas Nugent, 93, of Dover, with the medals and honors he never received following his discharge from the U.S. Navy 67 years ago.
"I had the privilege to present them, but the whole country thanks you," Shea-Porter said, adding she credited Nugent for his service and his patience.
Nugent said he enlisted in Cheyenne, Wyo., at the age of 18.
"I was working in a gambling house as a dice table dealer when the war broke out," Nugent said. "That was in '42 – right after Pearl (Harbor)."
Since he served as a cook with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression, Nugent said he was assigned as a baker aboard a minesweeper — the USS Bombard 151 — and a destroyer escort — the USS Spangler 696 — in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
"I don't regret my time I spent in the Navy," Nugent said, adding he was lucky enough to survive the threat of Japanese kamikaze pilots and the fact "Toyoko Rose" was broadcasting propaganda that ships had been sunk.
After the war, Nugent said he wanted to continue baking, but his uncle, who ran a shoe business in Jamaica Plain, Mass., convinced him to use the G.I. Bill of Rights to learn to design and patent shoes.
After remembering fallen comrades during Memorial Day last week, Nugent said he was touched to receive his medals after so many years.
She said he remains active and still bakes cookies and pies — especially with apples.