Lieutenant Commander Clarence R. Gilman

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M-1 Helmet: Lieutenant Commander Clarence R. Gilman (ASN: 267002)

Clarence (Charlie) Reginald Gilman was born on April 9, 1921 in Bingham, Maine. He went to the local schools, High school and the University of Maine, Class of 1943, where he majored in Forestry. Then in April 1943 Charlie enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became an Officer. When he completed training at the Naval Mine Warfare school in Virginia, Charlie went to Europe where he was assigned to the Escort Sweeper Group of the 8th Fleet.

When he arrived in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), shortly after the D-Day invasion of Normandy, Charlie got stationed on the Minesweeper USS AUK (AM-57). Between 29 June and 24 July, with the exception of brief runs to England for supplies, Auk was on sweeping operations in the Baie de la Seine. Shortly thereafter, the USS Auk was transferred to support the invasion of Southern France and Italy. The Eight Fleet supported the August 1944 landing of Allied troops on the coast of southern France, Operation Dragoon, with heavy naval gunfire and naval air attacks.

When Operation Dragoon commenced on August 15, the USS Auk was off the designated beaches of Provence with Vice Admiral Hewitt’s Control Force, the Eight Fleet. She remained along the coast of southern France until September 26 1944, intermittently coming under fire by enemy coastal batteries while sweeping Baie de Cavalaire, Baie de Briande, Baie de Bon Porte, Marseille harbor and waters of Toulon. Therefore, the USS Auk continued minesweeping and patrol missions in the Mediterranean until May 31, 1945, when she headed for the United States.[1] Charlie Gilman served on active duty until February 1946 on the Minesweeper Auk.

From September 1950 until November 1951 Charlie served again on active duty, with the Amphibious branch (Naval Intelligence), during the Korean War.

During his Naval career he was awarded the following decorations and awards;
– Naval reserve medal,
– Navy occupation service,
– United Nations Service Medal,
– World War II victory medal,
– American Theater medal,
– European-African Middle Eastern campaign medal with 1 battle star (Operation Dragoon),
– European occupation medal.

Clarence Gilman was in the Naval Reserve, where he retired in the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1969, and served on the following minesweepers; USS Courlan (AMS-44), USS Develin (AMc-45) and the USS Auk (AM-57).

Between active duty times, Charlie joined the United States Geological Survey as an engineering aid. He served in the Atlantic Region in Field Surveys and the Branch of Cartography. Charlie served in various capacities in the Office of Research and Technical Standards, Branch of Research and Design, and in the National Atlas Project. Charlie retired in July 1976 as the Chief, Graphic Applications Group. He was based in the Washington DC area.

Throughout his life, Charlie devoted much of his time camping, fishing and canoeing the back woods of Maine. He also spent many hours volunteering with the Appalachian Trail Club of Maine, and then the Board of the Sentier International des Appalaches,(International Appalachian Trail Committee), which extended the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Katahdin (in Maine) into Canada.. He designed the lean-to shelters, of which many were being built to this day. Charlie developed Lewy Body disease, which is a form of Dementia, complicated by Parkinsonian effects. He fought that for about 10 years, which is a longer time than is usually the prognosis. Clarence Gilman passed away on the morning of November 17, 2007.

[1] USN Mine Division 21 Activities and Ships, http://daveayers.com/Family/Naval_4.htm#Auk%20%28AM-57%29