The Silent Generation

Lawrence’s Edmund “Ed” Nasser is a US Navy Veteran, who dedicated his entire life to his family, his church, and his community. He is well known in the Merrimack Valley through an involvement with St Patrick’s Church for most of his adult life. Ed Nasser grew up in South Lawrence where he attended the Wetherbee School and Lawrence High School.

After high school, Ed served in the US Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd Class on the aircraft carrier, USS Cabot CVL-28. His US Navy rating was Machinist Mate Industrial Gas Generating or MMG. The rating was originally established as the Finisher rating in 1880, then renamed Machinist in 1884. The Navy reverted to original name of Finisher in 1895, but sailors preferred the name Machinist’s Mate, and that became official in 1904. Another of the engine room ratings, Boiler Technician (BT) was merged with the Machinist’s Mate rating on October 1, 1996.

During World War II and the Korean War, (Ed served in the Korean War era) the engine room of a US Navy warship was manned with a very talented and well-trained group of sailors. These enlisted ratings assigned to the engine room, included Boilermakers (B), Water Tenders (WT), Machinist Mate (MM), Metalsmith (M), Molder (ML) and Electrician’s Mate (EM). These sailors worked the ship’s engine room like a ballet, maintaining power and speed for the US Navy warship.

US Navy Machinist’s Mates operate, maintain, and repair (to the organizational and intermediate level) ship propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment, and outside machinery, such as: steering engine, hoisting machinery, food preparation equipment, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, windlasses, elevators, and laundry equipment; operate and maintain (at the organizational and intermediate level) marine boilers, pumps, forced draft blowers, and heat exchangers; perform tests, transfers, and inventory of lubricating oils, fuels, and water; maintain records and reports; and generate and stow industrial gases. This last task, “stow industrial gases,” was Ed’s focus during his US Navy career as a MMG3 or Petty Officer 3rd Class.

Typical of the Americans of the Greatest Generation, (Ed’s age group is also known as the Silent Generation, as they were younger than the World War II era Veterans), Ed worked hard to support his wife, Lucie, and two daughters, Helen, and Mary Ann. Ed worked for First National Supermarkets, Bond Bread, the Lawrence School Department as a custodian at the Lawler, Kane, and Hennessey Schools. He later worked for the Lawrence Parks Department, then retired from the Lawrence Water Department.

Very fit his entire life, from swimming regularly at the Plains Community Center, Ed was also very engaged in his church and community. Many at St Patrick’s Parish tell a story once of Ed swimming the length of a New Hampshire Lake during a St. Patrick’s Parish cookout. He has served as both a Sexton and Eucharistic Minister at St Patrick’s in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Ed is always ready to help, volunteering with the Holy Name Society, the Men of St Patrick, especially at parish cookouts, and serving his fellow Lawrence citizens at Cor Unum. Ed is a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Lawrence in the 1950’s, to 1980’s was populated with thousands of these hardworking, church going, husbands and fathers, most Veterans of World War II and Korea. What set Ed and his brother Veterans of World War II and the Korean War era apart from our Veterans today is their high level of engagement in their community.

These men, who spent their youth defending our nation, joined civic groups and especially Veterans organizations, in large numbers, coached youth sports, raised their families, and built great, safe, vibrant communities. As a representative of the Silent Generation, holding true to the American values of the Greatest Generation, Lawrence’s Ed Nasser is truly a hero in our midst!

The Dracut American Legion invites all Valley Patriot readers and their families to our Flag Retirement Ceremony on Flag Day, Tuesday, June 14th at 6:30pm at the Dracut American Legion on 574 Broadway in Dracut. This is a free family event. We also ask all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans, to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington, D.C.! Veterans of all eras are asked to go the American Legion’s Web site, and join the American Legion; our mission is working with Congress, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations.

John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 25 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War, Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at ◊