Looking back to Okie Strength

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
 
As in the past, I occasionally like to recognize the true nature and strength of the Oklahoma spirit.  One of our own faced the test and measured up.  He was a Major, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Fighter Squadron 223, he fought In the Solomon Islands area, August-September 1942.  He entered service from Oklahoma having been born 26 December 1914 in Lexington.
His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and heroic achievement in aerial combat above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 223 during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area, August-September 1942.
Repeatedly risking his life in aggressive and daring attacks, Maj. Smith led his squadron against a determined force, greatly superior in numbers, personally shooting down 16 Japanese planes between 21 August and 15 September 1942.  In spite of the limited combat experience of many of the pilots of this squadron, they achieved the notable record of a total of 83 enemy aircraft destroyed in this period, mainly attributable to the thorough training under Maj. Smith and to his intrepid and inspiring leadership.
His bold tactics and indomitable fighting spirit, and the valiant and zealous fortitude of the men of his command not only rendered the enemy’s attacks ineffective and costly to Japan, but contributed to the security of our advance base. His loyal and courageous devotion to duty sustains and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.” We raise them right in Oklahoma!
You should find time to drop by and visit the Hut.  It is in stages of development and those changes are all positive.  Things are moving around and there are new additions as well.  One item to note are the flags and emblems placed to recognize the conflicts and commitment of our past all the way up to today.  It is very impressive, but there are more changes to come.
So now we forge into the next community series of events I always look forward to; the Halloween Downtown Event, Veteran’s Day Events, and Christmas Day Parade (I know, I know its 93 degrees and I’m thinking about Christmas). Fall is my favorite time of the year!
Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursdays at 7:00 PM (21st of August!).  An added plus is that quarterly the meeting will be a shared event with the Auxiliary (more details to follow, still waiting).  Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for August are still up and running starting around 0700 till about 0900. Come by where we catch up on each other’s mischief and storytelling. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print!
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And, So It Begins

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

Well, it’s official.  All hands have been installed by Lucky and Myrna staying on for another Tour of Duty.  As announced last week they are as follows.  Post Commander Charles “Doc” O’Leary, First Vice President Steve Swinford, Second Vice president Babe Long, Adjutant Eli Prater, Treasurer Jack Cross, and Sgt at Arms Jim Hale, Service Officer Babo Carter, Chaplin Rex Mantooth, and Historian/humble correspondent Gary Lanham.  Representing the Auxiliary Officers are Nancy O’Leary-President; Carla McKenzie-Vice-President; Judy White-Chaplain; Carron Richardson-Sgt-at-Arms and Linda Cross- Executive Committee Member.

What a meal the Auxiliary provided.  I had a bit of everything.  Of course, the chicken was great but the grilled veggies, tabouli, and potato salad I indulged in was remarkable.  I must point out that I was so impressed with the commitment and dedication the women of the Auxiliary possess. I don’t attend the meetings, but I see the influence they have in the men’s lives and the service they have provided.  It is unmistakable and important.  It is important to understand that service men are only one part of the formula, without our partners the mission fails.  Thanks Auxiliary!

Many awards were presented in recognition of service to the Post and Community.  Notable contributions were Babo’s Flag drives and how it impacts our community,  Dick Pope’s tireless efforts to maintain a proper clean and green mowed lawn, and the boys that make sure the Monday morning breakfast times run smoothly.  John Doudna received kudos for his never-ending efforts to bring us into the next century with HVAC (we are air conditioned!).  Special thanks to Dan Rathbun, Jim Hale and Charlie O’ for being the “HVAC helper boys” in helping John install the system.

I was impressed with Lou Hale being presented with the official Legion head wear complete with his Army Vietnam Era and Cold War service accruements with the 45th infantry.  His father 1SG Louis Hale Sr was the 45thInfantry full time AGR NCO in Hominy for years; would have been proud of him, as well as his brother Jim Hale, another 45th Infantry NCO in Hominy. As a senior ranked NCO at retirement, I also recognized a few things some do not.  I heard a recent speaker (civilian) who captured the truth in leadership by the title of his new book, which I have ordered. “Leaders Eat Last”.  As everyone followed our distinguished guests in the line, I awaited to insure all had their plates before beginning a DVD on former Hominy resident Lloyd Pitts’ experiences on Normandy Beach (Omaha) on D-Day.  I don’t mind be last on the line, it’s my nature.  I still take up 3’ X 6’ cot size on my king size bed. Too many years on cots I guess (yes, even in the USAF).  There was our commander, at the end of the line.  Leaders eat last.

So now we forge into the next community series of events, I so look forward to; the Halloween Event downtown, Veteran’s Day Events, and Christmas Day Parade (I know, I know it’s 91 degrees and I’m thinking about Christmas).  Fall is my favorite time of the year!

Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursdays at 7:00 PM.  An added plus is that quarterly the meeting will be a shared event with the Auxiliary (more details to follow, still waiting). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for August are still up and running starting around 0700 till about 0900. Come by where we catch up on each other’s mischief and storytelling. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print!

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Installation of Officers on Friday, August 8th

This month we will have a short regular meeting on Thursday, August 7th.

The Installation of Officers Dinner for 2014-2015 will be Friday, August 8th at 6:00PM.

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Campaign Season Ends!

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

As promised, I am pleased to report Commander Charles O’Leary’s inputs from the 2nd day of the convention, where State Officer Election results are now known. Our new State Commander is Tim Smith from Post 20 in Ft. Gibson. He was elected unopposed. He a 43 year old retired Army Infantry SFC [E-7] who runs a public relations firm in Ft. Gibson. From the first time, I heard him speak he strikes me as a squared away troop. He appears to be direct and well spoke, and I have heard good things about him. One thing we all have is reputations; we determine if they are good or bad according to our character. Continue reading

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Convention Time!

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

What an amazing experience. I attended the State Convention last Saturday in Oklahoma City. The Commander and I pretty much played tag team to make sure Post 142 was represented, to note things of interest, as well as vote on important matters. Having been dropped in Oklahoma by the USAF the last few years of the Vietnam War into the reserves I never left. Over those years, I have been all over the state for one reason or another. That made it interesting to see other representatives with hometowns embroidered in their service caps. Broken Bow, Moore, Weatherford and many others were there. Continue reading

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