John Spence, right, talks with Jonathan West in 2012 shortly after West — a Marine — received the Congressional Gold Medal for his service during World War II. Spence, who died Tuesday in Bend, served in WWII and was the first to try out a new diving apparatus that allowed for much greater freedom underwater. Erick Simmel, a filmmaker and historian, says every combat swimmer since can be traced back to that swim by Spence.
John Spence, front right, meets with other members of the veterans group Oregon Band of Brothers. Spence joined the Navy in 1936 and volunteered again after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1998, Spence and others in his unit were inducted as lifetime members of the Army Special Forces.