On Sept. 21, 1945, about three weeks after VJ Day, I was a pilot on the USS Ranger, a pre-war aircraft carrier, about 100 miles off the coast of California. I was a member of VF98, a fighter squadron of the Pacific Fleet, flying F6F Hellcats.
Even though the war in the Pacific had ended, the Navy continued exercises planned long before the armistice, and one of those exercises was designed to qualify pilots for night carrier operations. To qualify we had to make two catapult take-offs and two landings.
About five years ago, Legionnaire Ray Dinius embarked on one of his greatest adventures yet, and he claims it helped saved his life.
For this new adventure, Dinius swapped uniforms, replacing his military khakis with a karategi, the stars and stripes for a black belt.
Dinius, who earned his first-degree black belt in March, is 75. He said karate helped him beat his third bout of cancer.
But Dinius’ adventurous spirit came long before.
Recently American Legion Post #66 of Hiawatha, KS was the host of a reunion for several local World War II veterans. Attending this reunion were many of those that joined the Brown County Honor Flight in August 2009 to Washington, D. C (pictured above). The Brown County Honor Flight was sponsored by several people from the Hiawatha and Sabetha areas.
"Every Hero Has a Story" is scheduled for Labor Day, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the American Legion Hall in Natoma, Kan. The exhibit will provide photographs of veterans with personal stories from past and present military service during war and peace. In honoring World War II veterans during the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, memorabilia will be on display from the World War II European and Asiatic-Pacific theaters.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 109 will host the event.
Come join the Montgomery County Historical Society at Lane Place Nov. 6-25, 2015, and honor those who served throughout the years. This brief war memorial exhibit will be just in time for Veterans Day, and veterans will be admitted into the museum for free. This exhibit takes visitors on a journey back in time and showcases priceless wartime artifacts from the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and both world wars. Walk in the footsteps of these soldiers and learn about Montgomery County's local war contributions.
Across from the County Court House is Memorial Park, to honor Broadwater County veterans who served in World War I, World War II and Korea. There is a list of veterans from those wars and behind it is the American flag.
Every Memorial Day, weather permitting, American Legion Post 42, Auxiliary Unit 42 and the SAL squadron lay wreaths at the memorial. We have a guest speaker or two, 21-gun salute and Taps. Afterwards, we have a reception at our Post club and open to the public.
MIDWAY CITY, Calif., Aug. 21, 2015 – “Call B-9” one veteran shouted. “No, call N-35,” yelled another. The heated exchange was all in fun at Bingo Night for military veterans who are being treated in the mental illness ward of the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif.
As members of the American Legion Post 555 of Midway City, Calif. dished out pizza, snacks, soda and juice to the vets, they waited anxiously as Post Sergeant-of-Arms Ed Sedlek called out the numbers.
Photo courtesy of Iwo Jima West Monument/Operation Home of the Brave | On May 22, Iwo Jima veterans gather about 100 yards east of the future monument and memorial site. Pictured from left to right (not including re-enactors): Damasio Sutis; John Farritor; Col. Michael Naylor; Chuck Amador; Jim Scotella, Chuck Bahde (Army Air), Robert Bergen (Navy); Edward McHenry "Iron Mike" Mervosh, honorary national chairman of Iwo Jima Monument West; and Laura Dietz, founder.
If all goes according to plan, the West Coast will be home to one of the original Iwo Jima monuments by the end of 2016.
Women Veterans of Southwest Missouri Post 1214, a new American Legion post in Springfield, Mo., held a special ceremony on July 12, 2015, paying tribute to the eight women veterans (all nurses) whose names appear on the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. The ceremony took place at American Legion Post 639 in Springfield.
Kayla Hornung, a sophomore Republic High School Air Force JROTC member, sang the national anthem. Pamela Wilson, a military veteran who served as an Army nurse in Vietnam from 1968-1969, helped unveil the Battlefield Cross at the ceremony.
Tom Bradford, Chula Vista Post 434, Department of California, is presented a star as the 2015 22nd District "Legionnaire of the Year."
The San Diego American Legion Family is very proud of Bradford, who is the epitome of the Blue Cap Legionnaire. Tom has no multiple past titles of offices held. He has not, over many years, aspired to anything greater in his post, other than to be of service where needed and having fun.
Bradford is always the first at his post to arrive, and the last to leave.
Our Flag-My Flag
By Eleta Creutz
Aug. 8, 2015
I stand with others, hand over my heart, saying joyously,
“I Pledge Allegiance”
So all will know. Excitedly how I feel! My heart beats faster.
“To The Flag”
Not to just any flag, but to our flag - my flag! Neat!
“Of The United States Of America”
Our nation - my nation!
This Purple Heart Monument was erected and dedicated by the Freeland, Pa., American Legion Post 473 and the Freeland, Pa., VFW Post 5010. Working together, these two proud veterans organizations from our small town raised over $4,000 toward this memorial through donations and fundraising.
American Legion Commander Gerald Gaffney and VFW Commander William DeFrancesco headed the project and hosted the dedication ceremony. This monument stands proudly in our Freeland Public Park War Memorial Area and serves to honor all shed blood for our country.
Independence Day means so much to the United States. It is our declaration to independence and we celebrate with family, cookouts, festivals and fireworks. But this young man wanted to incorporate an education process which included our United States flag, our symbol of freedom.
Tyler Behrmann is a member of the Boy Scout Troop 43 of Neenah, Wisc. He understands the need for respect of our flag and overall flag etiquette. Tyler decided his Eagle Scout project would educate others about how to handle and retire Old Glory but first he educated himself.
I enjoyed the article on the Ham Radio activity within certain American Legion posts. The very day that my Legion Magazine arrived in the mail I had just come from a meeting at our Arizona State Veterans Home in Tucson where I am a volunteer. On Super Bowl Sunday our volunteer group puts on a “tailgate party” in the Veterans Home recreation room.
While serving snacks and drinks to the residents I took a break to visit with the folks at a number of the tables.
Michelle Hamilton and Mary Standish, Vietnam-era veterans and members of the Womens Memorial Committee, stand with the grand marshals of the Middleborough, Mass., Memorial Day parade on May 25, 2015. From left to right are Michelle Hamilton, Evelyn Gatewood, U.S. Navy Korean War era, Betty Rollins, U.S. Army Vietnam era, Nikki Colburn, U.S. Navy Desert Storm era, Emma Sylvia, U.S. Army World War II, and Mary Standish.
The members of the committee and the grand marshals participated in the flag raising, laying of a wreath at the memorial and unveiling of the Women Veterans Memorial.
Brothers Carlos and Kyle Plummer have been making movies together since about 2008. They said they started by producing backyard shorts and quickly realized their passion for film.
The Plummer brothers have made several documentaries highlighting the military. Their latest is about the local Honor Flight program, which flies World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor.
Older brother Kyle and dad Jeff took the flight with the veterans to the country's capital to film the documentary.
Mary Standish, Senior Vice Commander, American Legion Post 64 carried the American flag in the Middleboro 2015 Memorial Day parade that preceded the dedication ceremony for the Womens Memorial. Sally Nay and Sandra Keep, also members of the Massachusetts Legion, joined the parade, carrying the POW and Massachusetts state flag, respectively. The rifle was carried by SMSgt Becky Brock, U.S. Air Force, who graduated from Middleboro High School and was a supporter of the Womens Memorial committee.
Middleborough Veterans Agent Paul Provencher reached out to four women veterans to discuss the idea of having a memorial honoring women veterans in Middleboro’s Memorial Park. Of course each of us were excited at having been asked to attempt this. We came together, not having known each other, and started thinking about a design, fundraising ideas and how to raise public awareness.
We were very pleased with the local veterans groups, family, friends and local businesses that came through for us. In a little over two years we were able to put all this together and plan for the dedication.
By Orlando A. Garcia, Captain (Retired), U.S. Army, ALR 47 President, Havre de Grace, Md.
On the afternoon of July 5, 2015, the American Legion Riders of the Joseph L. Davis Jr. Post 47, Havre de Grace, Md., participated in the annual 4th of July Parade in Havre de Grace. The Riders won 2nd place in the Best Motorcycle/Van Group in the parade. The parade had over 95 entries and lasted about two hours.
The parade route spanned the length of Union Avenue from Warren Street to Commerce Street.
I am Joanna Hill. I was raised by a Vietnam veteran named James I. McLeroy. My dad was my world and I clung to him and his every word.
I remember growing up knowing what a POW/MIA was, what KIA means and to hate Jane Fonda. I also grew up with a deep respect for my country and above all else MY flag.
I sit here now looking at that flag of respect spread over his coffin and I still hear his voice "Joanna, never let it touch the ground ... keep it clean ... if it is out at dark have a light near it ...
Photo courtesy of Peter Bedrossian, program director at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
On Aug. 15, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, N.Y., will re-open to the public with a new look and new stories to tell. The changes will better represent all branches of service and offer more personal insights into the lives of Purple Heart recipients, Peter Bedrossian, the program director at the hall, said.
Returning visitors will notice "a more visually rich tapestry than we had before," Bedrossian said.
Winona (Minnesota) American Legion Riders took part in a parade for the senior citizens at the nursing home where several veterans are residents. Although it was a small parade they enjoyed it so much. This is the second year we the Riders attended and hope to be invited back.
American Legion Van Nuys Post 193 received the Distinguished Donors Honor – Bronze Award from the Sepulveda VA at the annual Volunteer Awards Luncheon. Post 193 members Martin Light and Joe Pietroforte attended the luncheon and accepted the award on behalf of the post. The award was presented by Sadie Stewart, VA Voluntary Service Chief, and Louis Waller, Voluntary Service Site Manager.
Below is a link to a podcast S3productions did with Dennis Knight of Whittier American Legion Post 51:
On July 21, 2015, I officially transferred into Post 51 of Whittier, Calif.
I wanted to do a story about how that process happened and at the same share another veteran’s story.
At a local city concert I met Dennis Knight Sr., 1st Vice Commander for Post 51.
I entered active duty service with the U.S. Army in April 1980 at Fort McClellan, Ala., for basic training and MP school (mos 95B). My first duty station was at Fort Hood, Texas, with the 545th MP Co, 1st CAV DIV. Some of us deployed to Fort Chaffee, Ark., to participate in the Cuban resettlement program when Castro sent refugees (Mariel boatlift). My second duty station was at Butzbach and Baumholder, Germany, with B Btry, 3/59th ADA, 32nd AADCOM as an MP performing physical security duties on a HAWK missile site. I left active duty in March 1983.
The Winona American Legion Riders stood a flag line for Post 9 during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the re-dedication of a grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona.
150 years after the war ended, area folks gathered for the re-dedication ceremony of the grave of Sgt. Moses Chamberlin, who fought with Company K and suffered in the infamous Andersonville prison before coming home. He never really recovered, dying in Winona in 1865.
City Councilman Tom LaBonge recently presented Joe Pietroforte with an Official Proclamation from the City of Los Angeles, which recognized his heroism during World War II. "Bazooka" Joe, an Army veteran, received the Silver Star during the Battle of the Bulge for taking out two German tanks with his "bazooka."
Joe is chaplain for and a longtime member of American Legion Van Nuys Post 193.
Joe Pietroforte, a longtime member of and chaplain for American Legion Van Nuys Post 193, was recently presented with the prestigious "Silvi Award" at the annual Horace Heidt Estates Luau in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
The award is presented annually by Horace Heidt to an individual in recognition of their outstanding volunteerism and efforts in making the local community a better place to live.
The award was presented to Joe by Carolina Krawiec, a field representative for U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman.