Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich) saw his bill (A,9068-B/S.7903-B, Martucci) to honor fallen Lt. Stephen H. Doane in the Town of Walton pass the Legislature unanimously in both houses in the final stretch of session last week. The bill allows for a portion of the state highway system, the bridge over the West Branch Delaware River on State Route 206 between Delaware Street and Stockton Avenue, to be designated the “Lt. Stephen H. Doane Memorial Bridge.”
“’Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.’ Lt. Stephen H. Doane exemplified this kind of sacrifice; his heroic acts saved the young men he led that day in Vietnam,” said Angelino. “I hope the naming of this bridge offers some comfort to the remaining family members that Stephen will never be forgotten. I encourage those in Walton and all who pass over this bridge to learn about the heroism of Lt. Doane.”
“This is a fitting tribute to a man who exemplified what selfless service is,” said Town of Walton Supervisor Joseph M. Cetta.
“I would like to thank you and Sen. Martucci for all your hard work in getting the bridge in Walton dedicated to Lt. Stephen Doane. It means so much not just to his family but to the community of Walton. It is a job well done by you and we appreciate it very much,” Village of Walton Mayor Ed Snow
Lt. Doane was a resident of Walton, NY and a graduate of Walton Central School. On March 12, 1968, he graduated from the U.S. Army Infantry Officers Class as a Second Lieutenant. In March 1969, while serving as the platoon leader with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Hau Nghia Provence in Vietnam, his company faced enemy forces as they were carrying out tactical operations. Many of his men were wounded and trapped by enemy crossfire, so much so that it would be difficult for another team to rescue these men.
Lt. Doane, in the midst of this attack, managed to crawl to the nearest enemy bunker to silence it. While wounded, he then moved onto the second bunker while carrying a live grenade. He successfully delivered the grenade to the enemy bunker, but also sacrificed his life in the action. He was 21 years old.
Lt. Doane’s actions saved many lives that day. For this heroism, he was posthumously awarded the military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War. He is the only Medal of Honor recipient from Delaware County. The citation from the US Military ends saying,
“Lt. Doane's supreme act enabled his company to rescue the trapped men without further casualties. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by this officer were an inspiration to his men and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.”
Lt. Doane has also been awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States and a Bronze Star for heroic service in a combat zone. He is buried at rest at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.