By Rockne Roll • Multimedia Journalist • 

Statue of DeWitt unveiled at OMI

Rockne Roll/News-RegisterSculptor Chad Caswell of Troutdale assists with the installation of his depiction of World War II veteran and McMinnville resident Leonard DeWitt on Friday, Dec.5, outside the Oregon Mutual Insurance Building in McMinnville.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Sculptor Chad Caswell of Troutdale assists with the installation of his depiction of World War II veteran and McMinnville resident Leonard DeWitt on Friday, Dec.5, outside the Oregon Mutual Insurance Building in McMinnville.
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Chad Caswell speaks to a crowd of almost 100 as his statue of DeWitt is unveiled on Sunday, Dec. 7
Rockne Roll/News-Register
Chad Caswell speaks to a crowd of almost 100 as his statue of DeWitt is unveiled on Sunday, Dec. 7

A statue of DeWitt as he was in the war, hair waving and fist clenched as he attacked the enemy in the Pacific Theater, was unveiled Sunday, Pearl Harbor Day, in front of a crowd of nearly 100.

DeWitt joined the National Guard in response to the Pearl Harbor attack.

Later, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest honor for gallantry in action, for an act of heroism in New Guinea. During the Allied campaign to re-take the South Pacific island, he single-handedly warded off a column of advancing Japanese soldiers with an automatic rifle, a cache of hand grenades, a bayonet and eventually his helmet.

The statue was created Chad Caswell, a 21-year-old second-generation bronze sculptor whose previous works include a statue of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, now on display at Pearl Harbor. Caswell was on hand for the ceremony, as were Mayor Rick Olson, staffers from state Rep. Jim Weidner’s office and DeWitt himself.

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