History Center to Host Arthur “Gene” Dewey Day Oct. 16 at 11 am
By Steve McCloskey
Arthur “Gene” Dewey, a Mansfield area native who has made truly remarkable contributions - not only in service to our country - but to all of humanity during a more than 50-year public service career, will be the guest of honor at a special ceremony held at the History Center Museum later this month.
The History Center on Main Street at 61 North Main Street will host the official proclamation ceremony honoring one of Mansfield High School’s most distinguished graduates Saturday, October 16th starting at 11 am.. History Center members as well as the general public are invited to attend
Arthur “Gene” Dewey, a 1951 graduate of Mansfield High School, will be honored by the Mansfield Borough Council and Mayor Kathy Barrett with a proclamation on behalf of the citizens of Mansfield, declaring Saturday October 16, 2021 as Arthur “Gene” Dewey Day in Mansfield.
The ceremony, which includes the reading and the presentation of the Arthur “Gene” Dewey proclamation by Mayor Barrett, will start at 11 am in the main exhibition area of the History Center. A meet and greet will be held immediately following the ceremony for History Center members and the general public. The event will also include a special display of memorabilia from Dewey’s remarkable career as a soldier, statesman, and humanitarian.
Dewey, who still maintains the family homestead outside Mainesburg, was a stellar student at Mansfield High School before graduating in 1951. He matriculated to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating with a commission in the Corps of Engineers in 1956.
The list of his contributions to his country and to humanity are too lengthy to list in a newsletter, but here is a sample of his remarkable service.
Dewey received his wings as an Army Aviator before being awarded a master’s degree in engineering from Princeton in 1963. During a tour of duty to Thailand and Vietnam starting in 1963, Dewey flew more than 1,000 combat hours, piloting a C7A Caribou into virtually all the short, unimproved strips in support of American advisors working with the South Vietnam military. His unit was among the first to receive enemy fire in the Viet Nam War.
In 1968 Dewey was selected as a White House Fellow in the President Richard Nixon administration where he was instrumental in improving civilian relief efforts for victims of the Nigerian Civil War.
Dewey did a second tour of duty in Viet Nam in 1970 as the Commander of the 222d Combat Aviation Battalion comprised of 500 men and 72 helicopters. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for the effectiveness of his command.
Upon his return to the United States, he was appointed director of the President’s Commission of White House Fellowships and later served in the Pentagon as the Chief of the Political-Military Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations.
Dewey’s later assignments included leadership positions with NATO. His final three years of military service were back in the Pentagon as the Executive Officer to the Assistant Secretary of Defense.
In 1986, U.N. Secretary General Perez de Cuellar appointed Dewey an Assistant Secretary General with assignment as U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1991 was asked by US Secretary of State Eagleburger to head the newly-created Office of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for the former Soviet Union. He later served as the director of the Congressional Hunger Center.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Dewey Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration where he helped shape the return of over four million refugees to Afghanistan.
Native son Gene Dewey served with distinction during the Vietnam conflict, was a key member of numerous presidential administrations including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State during the administration of President Ronald Regan and Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. But perhaps, his most lasting and impressive accomplishments are his decades long humanitarian efforts on the behalf of displaced refugees.
Please join us on Saturday, October 16 at 11 am at the History Center to honor this remarkable man.