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Veterans Museum honors three WWII veterans

Posted at 7:25 PM, May 02, 2022

The Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum in San Luis Obispo honored three World War II veterans on Monday as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

Spence Stimler, James Porter, and William Hewes are 98, 99, and 100 respectively.

All three are Navy veterans who served aboard various vessels in World War II.

“There’s a lot of memories which are good and bad but that’s war and we’ve all experienced that I’m sure," Hewes said.

One specific memory Hewes has is the raising of the American Flag during the battle of Iwo Jima.

He served aboard the USS Miller from 1943 to 1945 and was standing on the bridge when he saw the historic moment take place through his binoculars.

Porter also served in the Pacific Theater during his time aboard the USS St. George.

“It brings a tear to my eye when I think about it because there were moments when things were pretty close and I don’t like to think about them because what for? That’s the past," Porter said.

After the war was over, the three men recalled encountering big changes coming home.

"We went into San Francisco and they're playing music, popular music, and I would have to ask somebody, 'is that new?'" said Stimler with a laugh. He served aboard the Navy submarine USS Pampanito.

The event was part of the museum's anniversary theme of "Hometown Heroes" which is dedicated to honoring local veterans on the Central Coast.

The three men all have connections to the area, with Porter and Stimler living in Santa Maria and Hewes having family in San Luis Obispo.

The Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum has planned several events leading up to the official anniversary in September.

The museum records each veteran's story and it’s then posted on the Library of Congress website for the public to watch later.

Stories from Hewes, Porter and Stimler will be available on this site soon.