Raymond J Vien- Veterans

During the month of March, the 474th flag to fly atop Old Glory Tower in the North End honors the memory of WWII Army veteran, Raymond J. Vien.

A lifelong resident of New Bedford, Vien enlisted with the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) at the age of 17 after the Great Hurricane of 1938. According to a memoir written by Mr. Vien, the C.C.C. was a government program established to enlist civilian personnel since jobs were very scarce at that time. He worked as a truck driver and eventually was promoted to foreman. According to Mr. Vien, this training prepared him for the time he served in WWII.

His memoir recalls when he was an 8-year-old boy who started a shoe shining business on the corner of Sawyer Street and Acushnet Ave, charging 5 cents per shine. He reminisced how movies cost 10 cents and candy bars were 5 cents, so he made enough for his enjoyment and gave the rest to his mother.

Vien married Alice Motta and shortly after that he entered the Army at the onset of World War II. After several months of training for the medical corps, he served in the Northern Solomon Islands, Luzon, Philippines and Japan. He earned the Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon, the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and Good Conduct and Victory medals. As a technical sergeant, he received an honorable discharge in 1945.

Upon his return he worked briefly for Morse Twist Drill. Attending evening classes, he obtained accreditation in refrigeration and air conditioning and began working at Ace Cabinet Corp.

After several years as a refrigeration foreman, he opened Allied Engineering Corp. in New Bedford with his partner, Paul Desjardins. They serviced the local fishing fleet and numerous area restaurants for more than 25 years until he retired in 1986.

Mr. Vien was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign War Post 6643, Freetown.

Mr. and Mrs. Vien had three daughters: Carol M. Xavier of New Bedford, Nancy A. Clerc of Acushnet, and Janice L. Vien of West Springfield, N.H.; a son, Ronald Vien of Westport; six grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Vien was also the brother of the late Lauretta Pine.

The late Joseph Theodore, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient began the practice of flying veterans' flags above the Old Glory Tower 38 years ago.

Linda Ferreira, a marketing representative at Ashley Ford in New Bedford, researches the life histories of area veterans. Paul Neary, general manager of the dealership raises the memorial flags on the veterans' behalf. Those who would like to honor a veteran by flying a flag at Old Glory Tower can contact Ferreira at (508) 996-5611 or at marketing@ashleyfordsales.com



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