Honored Bend veterans include first U.S. 'frogman'

Gathering held at Stone Lodge senior facility

Stone Lodge honors Vets

BEND, Ore. - John Spence, 94, was the first American "frogman," a combat swimmer sought out for their advanced swimming, diving and boat handing skills.

Spence is one more more than 20 veterans who live at Stone Lodge, a senior living center in Bend, which held a special pre-Veterans Day gathering on Saturday to honor them.

Spence was one of 70 frogman who served in World War II and Korean War.

The current Special Forces are still using some form of frogman.

"We were counteracting a situation where our allies, which we were trying to help that were taking a beating," Spence said. "So we were transferred to counteract what they were doing."

William "Bill" Miller also lives at Stone Lodge and served in a medic unit in the Army.

Miller's job was to go to different supply ships when they came in and unload the supplies, taking them to headquarters.

"Each Monday, anyone in the hospital that needed, supplies they would shift it down to us," Milller said. "On Thursday, we would make up their needs, and then we would come down and pick them up."

Miller took the Honor Flight back to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. last September and says it was an exhilarating trip.

Also joining Miller and Spence was Lorin Myring, who served in the Marines from 1943 to 1951.

"The biggest memory was when I landed in the first wave of Iwo Jima, seeing that beautiful flag go up there on the fifth day," Myring said.  

Myring is part of the Band of Brothers, a group of veterans that started out with three or four people but now has more than 1,000.

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