Barrington resident Michael Tripp was a Marine Corps helicopter crew chief who served in Vietnam during the 1960s. He walked away from four helicopter crashes during the war and earned a Purple Heart after sustaining shrapnel wounds.
He’s earned the title veteran, but he’s yet to see his name on the town’s Honor Roll.
It’s been 10 years since he applied to have his name permanently added to the board, which stands in front of Barrington Town Hall on Route 114.
Though he enlisted while living in East Providence, Mr. Tripp was discharged as a Barrington resident. He submitted an application for a spot on the Honor Roll in 2002, reportedly the last time names were added to the list, and while Mr. Tripp believed he met all the criteria his name wasn’t posted then and it still is not among the hundreds of veterans honored on the roll today.
Mr. Tripp, who is the president of the local United Veterans Council, isn’t exactly sure why his name wasn’t included but he thinks it may have had something to do with a lack of formal criteria used by the UVC to decide who is eligible for the Honor Roll, a situation that seems to have been remedied.
The Barrington Town Council unanimously approved a formal criteria for reviewing honor roll applicants earlier this month. Mr. Tripp said the criteria is in line with standards used by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars though Barrington’s are tailored to the more inclusive aspects of each organization’s regulations.
The Honor Roll, according to the new regulations, is open to any veteran honorably discharged after having served on active duty in the military during dates of recognized conflicts. The veteran must also have been a Barrington resident at some point of their service whether it be at enlistment, during service at time of separation from active duty.
Town councilor Cynthia Coyne thanked all those involved with setting up the new regulations.
Mr. Tripp said it appears that past incarnations of the UVC used an informal, unwritten set of regulations to review applicants. Mr. Tripp said the current UVC membership pursued a formalized standard last year following an honor roll application period that lasted from Oct. 2011 through March 2012. The group began reviewing the submissions but couldn’t find anything formal detailing who should or should not be added.
“Apparently, nothing had been run through the town council,” he said.
Luigi Carusi, a UVC member of eight years, and Mr. Tripp, a UVC member of six years, said the group previously looked at adding names to the board but received mis-information about difficulty with the process, including what it takes to physically open the board itself.
Mr. Tripp acknowledged some frustration with his name not appearing on the board and said he knows other veterans around town who aren’t listed as they should be.
“If you’re going to have it, it should be done right,” Mr. Tripp said.
A UVC sub-committee is scheduled to review the applications submitted last year. Mr. Tripp’s application is among the bunch, and he said new names should be listed by this summer.
The UVC has also decided to review applications at least once every five years.
Mr. Tripp added that he hopes the board itself can be re-organized so that veterans of particular conflicts are listed alongside one another. He said the board will actually gain some space that way though it appears there will be the need for another panel at some point down the road.
The Honor Roll currently has no names for those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan since the start of those conflicts 10 years ago.
Honor Roll criteria
The Barrington Town Council approved criteria for adding names to the town’s Honor Roll. Here is the criteria, which was recommended by the United Veterans’ Council after reviewing American Legion and VFW regulations.
1. Any veteran honorably discharged after having served on active duty in the United States Military during the dates of a recognized conflict as listed in No. 2-C below.
2. Service time qualification:
A. The veteran entered the service while a resident of Barrington, Rhode Island
B. The veteran was a Barrington resident while in the service on active duty or at time of separation from active duty.
C. Dates of service:
April 6, 1917–Nov. 11, 1918
Dec. 7, 1941–Dec. 31, 1946
June 25, 1950–Jan. 31, 1955
Feb. 28, 1961–May 7, 1975
Aug. 24, 1982–July 31, 1984
Dec. 20, 1989–Jan. 31, 1990
Aug. 2, 1990–Cessation of hostilities as determined by the United States Government.
3. Proof of service will be determined by the Barrington United Veterans Council using the veteran’s form DD-214 or other appropriate documentation.