Carlin Veterans Prepare to Honor Brethren
Service to community and country never ends for Carlin veterans
By Dianna Troyer
With Veterans Day approaching, Carlin resident Lincoln Litchfield says he reminds himself that his service to the United States is a lifelong commitment.
“It never ended after my six years with the Army,” says Lincoln, 61, senior vice commander of American Legion Post 32 in Carlin. He is also the senior vice commander for the legion’s District 3.
From 1977 to 1980, Lincoln was assigned to a base in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was then transferred to Fort Knox, Kentucky, from 1980 until 1983. There he tested M1 Abrams battle tanks.
The Carlin American Legion’s 30 members “are committed to serving our community and nation and honoring past and present veterans,” Lincoln says.
Members fly more than 225 full-sized burial flags at the Carlin City Cemetery on Memorial Day, provide their lodge as a meeting place for local Boy Scouts, and sponsor a youth oratorical contest. They also support the annual Elko County Veterans Day Parade.
“The importance of Veterans Day is to show support for those who put their lives on the line to give us our freedoms and maintain them,” Lincoln says. Elko County Commissioner Rex Steninger shares Lincoln’s appreciation of veterans. Rex suggested moving the annual parade to Spring Creek after Elko city leaders declined to host the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Spring Creek had a successful and safe Fourth of July parade with social distancing, so leaders there were glad to host it,” Rex says. “The most important thing is to honor our veterans. They deserve it for all their sacrifices to our country.”
When Michele Petty, Elko County executive assistant, was assigned the task of organizing the first Elko County Veterans Day Parade 14 years ago, she was honored.
“My family has a long history of military service, so I was excited to be able to plan this,” Michele says. “My dad was in the Korean War, and my two stepdads and both grandfathers were in World War II. My great uncles were veterans, too.”
Michele says the parade has always had a good turnout.
“Moving it to Spring Creek is a great opportunity to share our parade with another community,” she says.
The 1.5-mile parade is Saturday, November 7. It will begin at 11 a.m. at Spring Creek Parkway and Glenvista Drive intersection.
“Anyone is invited to participate,” Michele says. “We don’t have entry fees and will have veterans as judges.”
Winning entrants will be awarded trophies at the county commissioners’ meeting in December.
Kenneth Tillman, 76, adjutant of Carlin’s post, says he is pleased the parade is scheduled like usual to honor veterans.
He devoted 31 years to the Navy Reserves from 1962 to 1993 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Seabee. The Navy’s Seabees are a construction battalion. Their nickname is derived from the letters C and B, short for construction battalion.
“My brother was one of the original Seabees in World War II and inspired me to join,” Kenneth says. “I joke that going to Vietnam was my senior high school trip. I joined the reserves when I was 17, and we were assigned with the Marines when they did beach landings.”
During his service, one of the most memorable events was decommissioning the naval base at Midway Island—the halfway point for missions between Hawaii and Japan.
“It was the stopping point when I went to Vietnam,” he says.
One of Kenneth’s current projects with the Carlin post is getting the local cemetery designated as a state veteran’s cemetery.
“We have some Civil War soldiers buried here,” he says. “Veterans from all over the country have answered the call of duty for centuries.”
More information about the parade is posted at the Elko County Nevada website.