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Apr 16, 2016 5:45 PM

Elite group of WWII Marines honored with new Raiders monument

BOSCAWEN - Dozens gathered at the State Veterans Cemetery Saturday morning to honor some of the last surviving members of one elite group of Marines.

"It's one experience I'll never forget, and I thank God I'm still here," 93-year-old veteran William Landfear said. "I was just fortunate, one of the lucky ones, I guess, to come back."

Landfear joined the Marine Corps in September of 1942, serving in World War II as a Marine Raider.

The Marine Raiders of WWII were formed shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor as the first special operations military force in U.S. history. They were comprised of four battalions to stop the advancing enemy in the islands of the South Pacific.

"I met a lot of wonderful men, or should I say boys, that were my age who were only children, really - 19, 20, 21 years old," Landfear said.

One of those men and fellow brother was 95-year-old Harold Sheffield.

"We were a different outfit. A little bit different," Sheffield said.

Fundraising on his own, along with donations from family and the U.S. Marine Raider Association, Sheffield decided that creating the monument was important to those who lost their lives serving our country.

"There's a nice Marine monument but not for the Raiders," Sheffield explained. "So it's quite an honor, and I'm so pleased that it went well."

Gov. Maggie Hassan spoke along with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, thanking New Hampshire’s veterans, service members and their families for their courageous sacrifice.

The veterans also had the opportunity to meet a much younger generation. The Southern Cavaliers youth hockey team had the honor to lay the wreath at the monument.

"I've always thought that youth hockey was an opportunity to get kids involved in other things," hockey coach Bob Hug said. "In fact, one of the kids brought along a WWII book and had some of the veterans sign it so I think that tells you enough right there that this made an impact."

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