Fort Miles Honors USS Missouri to be presented April 5 at Battery 519

Four who served on historic ship and at Fort Miles are special guests
This is a scene on the USS Missouri at the end of the surrender ceremony Sept. 2, 1945. SOURCE FORT MILES HISTOICAL ASSOCIATION
March 18, 2014

The Fort Miles Historical Association will recognize three men and one woman for their World War II service at Fort Miles Honors USS Missouri at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 5, in Battery 519 at Cape Henlopen State Park.

FMHA performed yeoman service when it saved the 16-inch barrel that was the middle gun in the forward turret of the Missouri when the Japanese surrendered aboard the battleship at the end of World War II. The barrel was brought to the fort by rail and barge from a Navy boneyard in Dahlgren, Va., in 2012, a few days before it was to be cut up for scrap.

“The association feels a strong connection to the Missouri. It was important for Fort Miles to add a 16-inch gun similar to the two that were at the fort to defend Delaware during World War II,” said Dr. Gary D. Wray, FMHA president.

Four guests will be honored April 5. Phil Saggione and Robert Sauppee, who were aboard the Missouri  Sept. 2, 1945, and witnessed the Japanese surrender, will recall that day.

Horace Knowles and Lydia Wagamon, who served their country at Fort Miles during World War II, will also be recognized. Knowles was a member of the 261st Coast Artillery and was featured in the award-winning documentary about Fort Miles, "Dunes of Defense" (available on YouTube). Wagamon, a lifelong Harbeson resident, was a telephone switchboard operator at the fort throughout World War II.

Because of limited space, only the guests, their families, members of the media and FMHA members are invited.

Two short films - one on Fort Miles and one on the relocation of the barrel - will be shown. A history of the USS Missouri will be presented.

The association will use this event to launch its 2014-15 membership drive and membership renewal, Wray said.

“We invite our members to ‘re-enlist’ for 2014-2015, and welcome new members to our association as we move forward with plans to make Fort Miles a top-shelf World War II museum,” he said.