November 11, 2021
On Veterans Day, Senator King Launches Interview Series With a Maine WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War Veteran
Senator introduces “Maine’s Veteran Voices” – in partnership with the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of Veterans Day, today the Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is releasing the first episode of Senator King’s new interview series, “Answering the Call: Maine’s Veteran Voices.” This series, which is being conducted in partnership with the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, will be a monthly opportunity for Maine veterans to talk with Senator King and share their extraordinary lives, selfless service, and incredible sacrifice. With nearly ten percent of the Maine population a veteran of the Armed Forces, Senator King will talk to a wide variety of constituents as part of a larger, national effort to create an oral history for generations to come.
For the first interview of the series, Senator King spoke with Belfast resident Carmine Pecorelli, a veteran of World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War in the Navy, Air Force, and Army respectively. During the interview, Carmine shared with the Senator his deep passion for service, his unparalleled love of America, and why he dropped out of school to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
Carmine Pecorelli discusses his extraordinary service to the country with Senator King
“For almost 250 years – from Gettysburg to Normandy – generations of Maine veterans have selflessly answered the call in defense of our freedom, democracy, and in pursuit of a more fair and just nation. As Americans, we have a collective responsibility to recognize and honor their service, to share their stories with our children and grandchildren – because all Americans must know that our nation’s achievements would not be possible without their tremendous sacrifices,” said Senator King. “It was an honor and a privilege to speak with Carmine Pecorelli for the first episode of ‘Answering the Call: Maine’s Veteran Voices.’ A veteran of World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam, Carmine represents the best of America – it is men and women like him that have made our country strong. I hope this series in partnership with the Library of Congress can help share the incredible stories of Maine’s veterans and create an oral history of our greatest Americans for future generations to come. As Carmine repeatedly told me in the interview: ‘Dio benedica l'America’ – God Bless America.”
A resident of Belfast, Carmine Pecorelli served in World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnamese War – in the Navy, Air Force, and Army respectively. In his 96 years of life, he’s dedicated himself to serving our country and to “always looking out for the little guy.” Born in New Jersey in 1925 to a proud Italian-American immigrant family, Carmine knew from the time he was a little boy he wanted to be a soldier – he wanted to serve his country, and he wanted to be a hero. At age 14, he stood in line at the local recruiting station alongside thousands of others who offered to serve after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. So, at 16 he dropped out of school after finishing 8th grade and he became a member of the New Jersey State Guard. At 17, he enlisted in the Navy.
With little education, Carmine entered the Navy, and served as a petty officer on a minesweeper in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign of the war. As he tells Senator King, Carmine’s experiences and hard work helped him rise to lead a unit, teaching him true leadership and gave him the skills he’d use for the rest of his life.
After the war ended, Carmine went back to high school, knowing that he wanted to learn. He graduated high school in his 20s, and then attended the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, and University of Edinburgh for a graduate degree in history. After getting his education, he returned to the military and served in the Korean War in the Air Force. Later, during the Vietnam War, he joined the Army and went to train special-forces at Fort Bragg – training thousands of soldiers during his tenure.
The Veterans History Project is an effort by the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center to collect, preserve and distribute the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The interviews and primary documents from the project are then used by researchers, historians, students, and filmmakers across the country. Senator King joins many other Members of Congress who’ve participated in the project.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King has been a fierce advocate for America’s servicemember and veterans. He recently introduced the Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act, which would work to improve Department of Defense’s servicemember suicide prevention efforts. Last year, the Senate unanimously passed legislation cosponsored by Senator King that will designate 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis line. Senator King has also worked to create a first-of-its-kind Senate fellowship program for wounded American veterans, and has worked to improve the services for Maine veterans across the state, including at the Togus campus in Augusta