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Camp Lee-Stephenson Monument at Quoddy Village, Eastport, Maine

Camp Lee-Stephenson Monument at Quoddy Village, Eastport, Maine

        

Camp Lee-Stephenson is located at Quoddy Village, Eastport, Maine. In 1943 the Navy took possession of Quoddy Village from the National Youth Administration. The camp was built in 1935 by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to house workers for the world’s largest tidal dam project, the Passamaquoddy Dam. In 1944, at U. S. Naval Construction Training Center Camp Lee-Stephenson, over a thousand Seabees stood in formation during a ceremony for the new memorial to the base namesakes; Lt Irwin W. Lee and Lt. (jg) George W. Stephenson of the 24th Naval Construction Battalion.

Lee and Stephenson were killed in a Japanese air raid on July 2, 1943 at Rendova Island in the Solomons along with 23 enlisted men of the 24th Battalion. They were the first Civil Engineer Corps officers to die in combat while leading their men in the U. S. Navy’s newest branch, the Seabees, that was established in 1942. Most of the thirty streets at Camp Lee-Stephenson were named for enlisted Seabees that also died with Lee and Stephenson on Rendova. The other streets were named for Seabees killed elsewhere in the war.

The Navy honored Lt’s. Lee and Stephenson by having a 12 ton cement monument constructed with a large bronze plaque attached to the front of it. When the base closed in 1946 the plaque was removed and placed in the Seabee Museum at Port Hueneme, California. The City of Eastport retained the street names of the enlisted Seabees at Quoddy Village. For the next 60 years the abandoned moss coated monument that held the plaque that honored Lee and Stephenson sat alone in an empty weed covered field forgotten by everyone. However, the 60th anniversary of the memorial to Lee and Stephenson was approaching on September 9, 2004.

In January of that year a veterans’ group made up of former Seabees that served in me 24th Battalion in World War and others who served in the 24th Reserve Battalion combined with the city of Eastport, the owner of the land where the old cement monument stood, NSVA Island X24, a local Eastport contractor who donated their time to move the monument stone, as well as many others got the stone moved and cleaned up and ready for replacement of the bronze plaque. As it turned out the bronze plaque was not available so NSVA Island X24 raised the money at their annual reunion to have a new plaque made like the original as well as a plaque for the Seabees for whom the streets at Quoddy Village had been named. The monument was moved, the new plaque affixed, and the rededication was held. The monument sits across from the Admiral Ben Morrell Drill Hall at Quoddy Village.

Driving Directions

Travel to the far northeast corner of Maine next to the Canadian border. Take US Highway 1 to Maine 190 (Indian Rd.) and turn right. Proceed towards Eastport, Maine and you will come to Quoddy Village. Ask there about the Camp Lee-Stephenson monument, and someone will direct you.

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