That Look

Just because you retire does not mean things slow down. My wife and I had business to attend to in OKC over the weekend while our Post leadership represented our community at the American Legion State Convention down I-40 from us in Shawnee. I have seen pictures of Doc O’Leary and his beautiful bride Nancy posted and cannot wait to give everyone an update on that convention next week.

We choose to stay at billeting at Tinker AFB in Midwest City saving a ton of money over a normal hotel for our meetings. I have to say the room and service was outstanding. Beats those old WWII barracks I CQ’ed back as an E-2. We also got to drop into a dart tournament (believe it or not) at American Legion Post 73. Their commander is known as “Smurf”. What a great place and what an incredible conversation I had with him and his vice commander. In our careers, though we have never met, we knew dozens of soldiers around the state over the years, including our own post 142 commander. We discussed generals, colonels, and all assortment of enlisted folks. I could have stayed there all day, but my wife started giving me “the look”. You guys know what I mean “the look”. It’s, “okay, I’ve heard this a thousand times, let’s go.” And you better comply.

The 100th American Legion coins are in great demand. We voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. Those were picked up when the commander and vice commander travelled to the State Convention in Shawnee with our adjutant John Hamilton.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. Meal this next one on the 19th as the chef has returned! 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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Oklahoma Pride!

Today in 1944 Roy Harmon from Talala, Oklahoma, at great price, drew immortality. He was a Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 362d Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. His place in the sand was near my father’s fight. Near Casaglia, Italy, 12 July 1944. Born in Talala, Okla. His Medal of Honor was given 2 October 1945. His citation says” He was an acting squad leader when heavy machinegun fire from enemy positions, well dug in on commanding ground and camouflaged by haystacks, stopped his company’s advance and pinned down 1 platoon where it was exposed to almost certain annihilation.

Ordered to rescue the beleaguered platoon by neutralizing the German automatic fire, he led his squad forward along a draw to the right of the trapped unit against 3 key positions which poured murderous fire into his helpless comrades.

When within range, his squad fired tracer bullets in an attempt to set fire to the 3 haystacks which were strung out in a loose line directly to the front, 75, 150, and 250 yards away. Realizing that this attack was ineffective, Sgt. Harmon ordered his squad to hold their position and voluntarily began a 1-man assault. Carrying white phosphorus grenades and a submachine gun, he skillfully took advantage of what little cover the terrain afforded and crept to within 25 yards of the first position.

He set the haystack afire with a grenade, and when 2 of the enemy attempted to flee from the inferno, he killed them with his submachine gun. Crawling toward the second machinegun emplacement, he attracted fire and was wounded; but he continued to advance and destroyed the position with hand grenades, killing the occupants. He then attacked the third machinegun, running to a small knoll, then crawling over ground which offered no concealment or cover. About halfway to his objective, he was again wounded.

But he struggled ahead until within 20 yards of the machinegun nest, where he raised himself to his knees to throw a grenade. He was knocked down by direct enemy fire. With a final, magnificent effort, he again arose, hurled the grenade and fell dead, riddled by bullets. His missile fired the third position, destroying it. Sgt. Harmon’s extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and self-sacrifice saved a platoon from being wiped out, and made it possible for his company to advance against powerful enemy resistance.

The 100th American Legion coins are in great demand. We voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. Will pick those up this week when the commander and vice commander go the State Convention in Shawnee.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. No meals till the 19th as the chef is taking a well-deserved leave. He will be back to do his magic 19 July at 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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The 4th of July

I considered different topics to cover this week. I decided to go with last year’s post. Instead of 1776 let’s go forward to 1826. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively, die on this day, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Both men had been central in the drafting of the historic document; Jefferson had authored it, and Adams, who was known as the “colossus of the debate,” served on the drafting committee and had argued eloquently for the declaration’s passage.

After July 4, 1776, Adams traveled to France as a diplomat, where he proved instrumental in winning French support for the Patriot cause. Jefferson returned to Virginia, where he served as state governor during the dark days of the American Revolution. After the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Adams was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, and with Jefferson he returned to Europe to try to negotiate a U.S.-British trade treaty. After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Adams was elected vice president to George Washington, and Jefferson was appointed secretary of state.

As president, Adams’ main concern was America’s deteriorating relationship with France, and war was only averted because of his considerable diplomatic talents. In 1800, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (the forerunner of the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist party of Adams and Hamilton, and Adams retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts. As president, Jefferson reduced the power and expenditures of the central government but advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, which more than doubled the size of the United States. During his second administration, Jefferson faced renewed conflict with Great Britain, but he left office before the War of 1812 began. Jefferson retired to his estate in Monticello, Virginia, but he often advised his presidential successors and helped establish the University of Virginia.

Jefferson also corresponded with John Adams to discuss politics, and these famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment. By remarkable coincidence, Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, Independence Day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” though his old friend and political adversary had died a few hours before.

If you like amazing stories like this check out the HBO series “Adams”. It is a remarkable movie and is a must for those who love our America.

Flag pick up is Friday the 6th meeting at the Hut 0900 hours.

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. No meals till the 19th as the chef is taking a well-deserved leave. He will be back to do his magic 19 July at 6:00 PM before the meeting. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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Walls Don’t Matter

A few years ago, my good buddy Dick Pope gave me a book to read. Now Dick awaits me at our Supreme Commander’s camp grounds where he and others who served keep the fires going and the “Joe” hot (coffee civilians). The book was read, information absorbed, and now it resides in the Hut library. It concerned the Berlin Airlift that was ongoing while he served in Germany at that time. It began the change from the Army Air Corp to the USAF. It was an amazing story of risk and success on a flying mission that laid the ground work for our current aviation worldwide industry.

Today in 1948, in response to the Soviet blockade of land routes into West Berlin, the United States begins a massive airlift of food, water, and medicine to the citizens of the besieged city. For nearly a year, supplies from American planes sustained the over 2 million people in West Berlin. On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked all road and rail travel to and from West Berlin, which was located within the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany. The Soviet action was in response to the refusal of American and British officials to allow Russia more to say in the economic future of Germany.
The U.S. government was shocked by the provocative Soviet move, and some in President Harry S. Truman’s administration called for a direct military response. Truman, however, did not want to cause World War III.

Instead, he ordered a massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin. On June 26, 1948, the first planes took off from bases in England and western Germany and landed in West Berlin. It was a daunting logistical task to provide food, clothing, water, medicine, and other necessities of life for the over 2 million fearful citizens of the city.

For nearly a year, American planes landed around the clock. Over 200,000 planes carried in more than one-and-a-half million tons of supplies.
The Soviets persisted with the blockade until May 1949. By then, however, it was apparent to everyone concerned that the blockade had been a diplomatic fiasco for the Russians. Around the world, the Soviets were portrayed as international bullies, holding men, women, and children hostage in West Berlin and threatening them with starvation. The unbelievably successful American airlift also backfired against the Russians by highlighting the technological superiority of the United States. By the time the Soviets ended the blockade, West Germany had become a separate and independent nation and the Russian failure was complete.

One of the lighter moments was when the “Candy Bomber” began, on his own, packaging small parcels of goodies for the children with small parachutes. Donations from the troops flooded him. Although unauthorized it became a positive face on the efforts to help those on the east side of the wall.

We will be putting out flags on Main Street and Highway 99 & 20 on Friday June 29th at 9:00 AM. We will pick up flags on Friday July 6th at 9:00 AM. Then we will have a short flag raising and salute at 9:00 am on July 4th at the Legion Hut flagpole.

Get yours now! The Department of Oklahoma in OKC has Legion 100th Anniversary coins for sale at $15 each. I got my 10 coins and they are beautiful (I have awarded nine of them to special folks in my life). I will continue to distribute mine to folks who have a special meaning to me. Also, please participate in our rifle raffle. Carl Blue has set up opportunities at the NAPPA Store (Thanks to the Breedloves) and The Hominy Pawn Shop.

Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in June are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy with always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed. Attend our next meeting July 5th at 7:00 pm. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

 

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Happy Belated 14 June Army Birthday!

I was AWOL last week due to pressing matters and other distractions. Commander O’Leary has me on KP for a bit (LOL). But this past 14 June in 1775 an important event occurred.

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals.

Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.

Also, on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775. The U.S. Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the American nation. It has drawn on both longstanding militia tradition and recently introduced professional standards.i

Commander O’Leary has been traveling back from El Paso, TX, after the Special Forces Association meeting down there. Last word I heard they were bivouacked in Midland TX this past week. Hopefully he will be back in gear with us this week.

Get yours now! The Department of Oklahoma in OKC has Legion 100th Anniversary coins for sale at $15 each. I got my 10 coins and they are beautiful (I have awarded nine of them to special folks in my life). I will continue to distribute mine to folks who have a special meaning to me. Also, please participate in our rifle raffle. Carl Blue has set up opportunities at the NAPPA Store (Thanks to the Breedloves) and The Hominy Pawn Shop.

Next Legion meeting will be Thursday June 21, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Hut. Jerry Sebert will be cooking something for us at 6:00 PM on the 21st. With the way the weather is, it might be cold cuts or watermelon.

Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in June are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy with always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed. Attend our next meeting June 21st at 7:00 pm. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

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