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Lance DePlante of New Ipswich remembers his unique assignments this Memorial Day

  • Lance DePlante of New Ipswich, a US Army veteran, marches in the Memorial Day parade on May 21, 2017. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lance DePlante of New Ipswich, a US Army veteran, marches in the Memorial Day parade on May 21, 2017. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lance DePlante of New Ipswich, a US Army veteran, marches in the Memorial Day parade on May 21, 2017. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lance DePlante of New Ipswich, a US Army veteran, speaks at the Memorial Day event at Smithville Cemetery on Sunday. Staff photo by Brandon Latham

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/22/2017 11:05:37 PM

Growing up on Long Island, Lance DePlante said he always noted the highway signs that said, “New England that way.” But to get to his current home in New Ipswich, he first made stops in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and all over the country.

DePlante is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, serving from 1962 to 1994. He is also a former New Ipswich selectman, and organizer of the town’s Memorial Day parades for “many, many years.” New Ipswich held its annual parade on Sunday, and DePlante served as master of ceremonies, marching with fellow veterans from the Congregational Church to Central Cemetery.

After attending Oklahoma State University, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant, DePlante got his most memorable assignment when stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas in the 1960s.

“I was assigned to LBJ’s ranch,” he said, remembering the 36th president as a well-humored man.

When working on Johnson’s ranch, DePlante said, he would accompany the president while hunting, fly a helicopter, and make Johnson laugh so hard he was afraid he might be responsible for hurting the president if he fell out of his chair.

“He taught me two things,” DePlante remembers. “Number one: always tell it like it is. And number two: if somebody growls at you, you growl at them.”

And while at the Johnson ranch, DePlante met Ross Perot, the billionaire business magnate who later ran twice as a third-party presidential candidate. DePlante and Perot were both Eagle Scouts and they got along well. DePlante said he was asked to join Perot for various projects.

“I did that for a number of years, but I remained active in the reserves, and then went back to active duty after that,” he said. DePlante said he can’t talk about his work with Perot with any more specificity than “special projects.”

For his final duty assignment, DePlante was stationed at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts, making it up the highway to New England. He saw a real estate newspaper advertisement for a New Hampshire property that read, “If you love water, you’ll love this property.” And since then, he has lived along the Souhegan River and Water Loom Pond in New Ipswich.


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