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Keeping the tradition goingChadwick one in a family line of military vets

  • A photo of Frank W. “Buddy” Chadwick Jr., John Chadwick’s older brother who was killed in Vietnam in November 1966. Staff Photo/Domenic Poli

  • Veteran John Chadwick at his Buckland home. November 9, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Veterans John Chadwick, patriarch Frank Chadwick Sr., Les Chadwick and LuAllen Chadwick. November 9, 2018 Contributed Photo.

  • Veteran John Chadwick at his Buckland home with a photo of his brothers and father. November 9, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • U.S. Air Force veteran John Chadwick stands next to Spann Watson, left, and Sam Rhodes, two former Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American pilots who fought in World War II, in Washington, D.C., in 2004. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO



Staff Writer
Friday, November 09, 2018

BUCKLAND – John Chadwick received a cochlear implant in March.

The mean roar of jet engines during his 21½  years in the U.S. Air Force damaged his ears, but the medical device improved his hearing from 8 to 69 percent. But despite this visible reminder and his battle with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, the 66-year-old still counts himself as one of the lucky ones.

“I call it a small price. If I talk to anybody about it, a lot of them will say, ‘Ooo, wow,’ and they think it’s a big thing. But, compared to the price that some people had to pay, I consider it a very, very … small price that I had to pay,” Chadwick said in his comfortable 1850s home on School Street in Buckland, as he pondered the upcoming Veterans Day. “And I’m fine with it.”

He is all too familiar with patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice. His oldest brother, Frank W. “Buddy” Chadwick Jr., died on Nov. 30, 1966, six days after being shot in the chest on Thanksgiving Day fighting in Vietnam for the U.S Army. He was the fifth Franklin County resident killed in Vietnam, his younger brother said.

“It was like somebody took my heart out of my body. It was really, really hard. It ... still feels like yesterday. I was like his tag-along brother. I used to follow him everywhere he went,” John Chadwick said, recalling the moment he got the news at his family’s home in Ashfield. “There was two gentlemen who came to our house. That was their job, going around to notify people. And as soon as I saw them I knew, ‘This is bad.’ Something was going on. It was like they didn’t even have to tell us. Because we already knew that he had been wounded. So we were prepared for the worst. And, of course, when we saw them, it was just a matter of putting one and one together.

“For many years, I always said to myself, ‘I’m carrying out my service in continuation of his.’”

Chadwick enlisted on July 3, 1972, and retired in 1993 as a technical sergeant, having worked many jobs, including fuel specialist and in special operations during the war in the Persian Gulf. He worked for the U.S. Post Office for 20 years after leaving the service.

The military has been a family affair for the Chadwicks. The patriarch, Frank Chadwick Sr., served in the Army during World War II, with battles and campaigns including Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. John’s brother LuAllen Chadwick served in the Air Force and brother Les Chadwick was in the Navy as a boiler technician on the USS St. Paul from 1969 to 1970. 

The Chadwicks boys’ great-grandfather, Jerimiah Manning of Vermont, fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War. John Chadwick said he keeps all veterans in his heart all year, but especially on Veterans Day.

“It’s important because of what they’ve had to endure. The different sacrifices that they’ve made. And there are so many veterans that are walking around,” he said.

Chadwick, who has lived in his home for 25 years, always has an American flag flying out front.

“I’m a patriot. I believe in America,” he said. “Yeah, I fly the flag. It stands for me. It stands for my family. It stands for the brother I lost. It stands for all the ones that we’ve lost. It stands for America.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.