HOLDEN — Pat Spehar choked back tears during the dedication of Camp Spehar in his son’s honor Sunday.
“He was very committed to his family and his friends,” Spehar said. “He wouldn’t have changed a thing that day.”
Nicholas Spehar, of Chisago Lakes, Minn., was among 30 U.S. troops killed, along with seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan interpreter, in August when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down, apparently by a Taliban-launched rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.
On Sunday afternoon, Pat Spehar and his son, Luke, arrived by helicopter at the camp where more than 100 people gathered to witness the dedication of Camp Spehar U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps in his memory.
Camp Spehar will be a training ground for “young men and women, ages 13 to 18, who are interested in test driving the military lifestyle,” said Norman Soren, the camp’s commandant for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
SEAL Kody Seamon, who was Nicholas Spehar’s roommate when they served together, said he wanted the camp to be named “after someone I admired so much.
“Nicholas was one of the finest SEALS that I ever had the privilege and honor to serve with,” Seamon said.
“His work ethic was beyond reproach,” Seamon said.
Seamon, of Zachary, who is in charge of training sea cadets at Camp Spehar, said he planned to teach everything his friend stood for.
“His work ethic is going to be ingrained in this camp,” Seamon said.
“He was an unusual boy who gave 100 percent no matter what he did,” Pat Spehar said.
“Once he set his mind to it, he was going to see it through,” his father said.
Following 9/11, Nicholas Spehar decided to serve his country and wanted to be with the “best of the best,” Pat Spehar said, adding that “9/11 was very personal to Nick.
“He loved our country profoundly,” the SEAL’s father continued. “He was a patriot inside and out.”
As Pat Spehar looked around at the young Sea Cadets, who gathered for the dedication, he advised them to listen to their parents and to those teaching them at the camp.
“It’s a rare opportunity to have this quality of men” teaching you,” Pat Spehar said.
He also asked parents to support the instructors. “They’re building good men and women, Pat Spehar said.
Teenagers who attend Camp Spehar will have a chance to taste what it’s like to go through SEAL training, so they can decide if military life and possibly special operations are things they want to pursue, according to the instructors.
“I know Nick is watching,” Pat Spehar said. “I know he’s a part of it. It’s God’s gift to have these facilities, this conviction and this quality of men.”
During the dedication, a flyover, taps and a 21-gun volley were performed in the fallen SEAL’s honor.
“The honor that I feel just goes beyond words,” Pat Spehar said. “It’s a honor for my family; it’s an honor to Nick.”