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Monument to the Amphibious Training Base in Solomons

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on February 18, 2004:

Senator Dyson The governor presented his Fiscal Year 2005 budget of 23.8 billion this week and we are in the process of reviewing it. While we look at all aspects of this extremely complicated process which must be approved by April 12, the final day of the General Assembly Session, I am currently pushing for another project that fascinates me.

The late, great statesman Louis Goldstein -- Mr. Maryland – first introduced me to the concept of the push for a statue which will commemorate the people and work done at the Amphibious Training Base in Solomons during World War II.

Before Solomons was known for its great restaurants, scenic views, art galleries and famous nightlife, it was most renowned for something much more graver.

Solomons’ Amphibious Training base was the nations first. More than 68,000 soldiers trained for missions overseas that would become household names. >From 1942-1945, soldiers trained for engagements in both the European and Pacific Theatres of War. They trained for missions in Normandy, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Anzio and others.

Recently, the Calvert County Commissioners threw their financial support behind the project and I am very pleased to be writing a letter of support for the “On Watch” project to the Maryland Historical Trust asking for them for a substantial grant to complete the project.

“On Watch” is an eight-foot tall bronze statue that will honor all of those who took part in training at the Amphibious Training Base in Solomons during World War II. This is a project that has long been neglected and its time is now.

The Calvert Marine Museum, one of the great Southern Maryland tourist attractions, is taking a lead role in the project. However, a committee of community members its also helping out with this worthwhile undertaking. These groups include the Naval District Washington, the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the Naval Order of the United States, the Marine Corps Historical Company and supporters throughout Southern Maryland.

One of Annmarie Garden’s most popular sculptures is of the “Oyster Tonger” that greets visitors upon their arrival at another one of Southern Maryland’ s great attractions.

The sculptor of the “Oyster Tonger,” Mr. Antonio Tobias Mendez, has earned the commission to bring the Solomons Amphibious Base statue to life. Plans are for the statue to be complete in time for the annual “Cradle of Invasion” in Solomons in 2004.

I expect people from all over the country, even the world, to see this tribute to all the fine soldiers who trained in Solomons for some of the most dangerous, but important missions that helped us ultimately destroy the evil Hitler regime in the West and the Japanese threat in the East. Many of the people here did not come home. Many left as youths and came home as men who had seen the best and, yes, the worst they could ever imagine on the battlefields.

Anyone interested in contributing to this worthwhile project should contact Karen Stone, Curator of Education at the Calvert Marine Museum at (410) 326-2042, ext. 32 or e-mail her at stoneke@co.cal.md.us. Or, you can send a contribution to the Solomons World War II Committee, P.O. Box 1033, Solomons, MD 20688.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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