Happy Birthday USAF!

Of my twenty-nine and a half years in uniform, reserves, Guard, and active duty I spent twenty eight and a half in the blue uniform. I am proud to have severed one year in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and to be called a “Thunderbird”. Still I would not change anything for raising my right hand saying the oath and starting my career in 1973 with the USAF (United States Air force). And guess what? It’s the Airforce birthday this week!

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I Shall Return

During this week in 1945 Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed in Japan to oversee the formal surrender ceremony and to organize the postwar Japanese government. The career of Douglas MacArthur was composed of one striking achievement after another. His performance in World War I, during combat in France, won him more decorations for valor and resulted in his becoming the youngest general in the Army at the time. He retired from the Army in 1934, only to be appointed head of the Philippine Army by its president (the Philippines had U.S. commonwealth status at the time).
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Don’t Start a Fight You Can’t Finish. Go GUARD!

So today in 1944 after we had that successful but difficult advance on Normandy what most folk don’t know is the push back the Nazis made. Following the American break out from Normandy in July 1944, the Germans decided that the only way to stop the Allied advance and push them back to the sea was to launch a massive attack in the Avranches region, about 150 miles west of Paris.

 

To do this they moved tanks and men of the XLVII Panzer Corps into place and opened their operation on August 7th. Their main thrust, led by the 2nd SS Panzer Division, was to cut the American line between Normandy and Brittany, forcing the two groups to fall back on different beach areas, possibly compelling at least one group to withdraw. But almost immediately the Germans were blocked by determined resistance.

On Hill 317, near the village of Mortain, their advance was stopped by 700 men of North Carolina’s 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division (which also included Guard units from SC and TN). Firing at almost point-blank range their one anti-tank gun and numerous anti-tank rockets (fired from ‘bazooka’s’) the Guardsmen destroyed 40 vehicles including several heavy battle tanks. The Germans bypassed the hill leaving it surrounded. They launched repeated assaults to capture it but these were beaten back with artillery support from the Guard’s 35th Infantry Division (KS, MO, NE) and RAF air strikes on the German positions. After five days of being cut off and with the loss of nearly 300 men the 2nd Battalion was rescued by elements of the 35th Division. For its determined and stubborn resistance in blocking the enemy advance the 2/120th Infantry was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Here it comes! The annual Post 142-Unit 142 Legion-Auxiliary Installation Diner will be Thursday August 9th at 6:00 PM at the Hut. The Ladwigs from Skiatook, Lucky and Myrna, will be doing the Installations for the Legion and the Auxiliary. The Legion will provide the meat dish and Auxiliary/spouses will bring side dishes and desserts.

The next flag event will be Labor Day September 3rd. We will put out flags on Friday August 31st and pick-up on Tuesday September 4th. We will meet at the Hut at 0830 hrs both days and will just put out flags on Main Street.

The 100th American Legion coins are going fast! As you will recall we Legion guys voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. If you see one of boys around town ask. It is a once in a lifetime collector’s item

Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. 9th of August. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Just watch the weather, it is the only factor that my change that. 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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Back in the Saddle Again!

As a boy I really enjoyed watching my favorite cowboys, Hop Along Cassidy, Roy Rodgers, and the Singing Cowboy! This day in 1942 actor Gene Autry is sworn into the Army Air Corps on the air, during his regular radio show, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch. He served as an officer until 1945, when he resumed his show.

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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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