for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>>by Gary Lanham
It is amazing to me how much can happen in the short span of a week. I sometimes wonder what I am going to contribute each week and somehow things just seem to come together. At our Thursday night meeting the topic of Memorial Day weekend and Armed Forces day arose (can you believe how fast winter blew by?). Babo reported that high winds and bad weather last year destroyed over six hundred flags the Post had placed in various places. Now we find ourselves in need of donations to replace those flags so we can honor our past patriots. If you are a current patriot that believes in recognizing the service of our past defenders of freedom and want to contribute call Babo at 918-885-6041. It will be appreciated!
On to other business, our Post Commander Jim Frazier reported that the American Legion District Convention for District 1A and 1B (NE Oklahoma) this year will be held April 27th in Pryor Oklahoma. He emphasized that a good showing goes along way when voting takes place. More details will be forth coming. On another note member Stan Mueller dropped in. He and his boys did a fantastic job a few months ago doing renovations to the Hut at a very reasonable cost. He shared some of his recent exploits while working offshore down at the Gulf near Corus Christi. Turns out it is a fisherman’s paradise and if his catch was even half of the hand span he presented it was an impressive catch!
I also heard later that he was an accomplished crop duster pilot and flew skydivers down in Haskell, OK. Having been a skydiver for many years I tip my hat to a man who had the patience to fly a plane load of crazy folks to 10,500 several times a day. I knew a retired USAF officer who showed up at a Kansas drop zone I was visiting. We recognized each other from past military service. When I knew him he flew KC-135 Refueling Aircraft. After catching up on things I asked him why he was out at the DZ (Drop Zone). He replied that he was going to start flying jumpers. He had not done this before so I told him what to expect. Pilots normally don’t care for the door opening at altitude and it is very uncomfortable to suddenly lose 750lbs of crazy skydivers out the door. Fighter pilots know the sensation when they dump 3,000 lbs of GP bombs off the aircraft. We went up and I got a kick out seeing his eyes when I blasted the door open and dived out. Later on the ground his eyes were still wide open from the shock. Thirteen years later he still flies jumpers in Osage Kansas.
While I’m on the topic of flights, have you heard about the Honor Flights? The Honor Flight Network does whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free to see the WWII memorial at the nation’s Capitol. Subsequent to the World War II veterans, their efforts will then focus on our Korean War and then Vietnam War veterans, honoring them similarly. I have personally seen the Korean and Vietnam Memorials, and I can tell you it is a very moving experience.
The inaugural Honor Flight took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC. In August of 2005, an ever-expanding waiting list of veterans led to a transition to commercial airline carriers with the goal of accommodating as many veterans as possible. Partnering with HonorAir in Hendersonville, North Carolina, they formed the “Honor Flight Network.” Today, they continue working to expand their programs to other states across the nation.
I bring this to light because two of our local Patriots are participating in this adventure 17 April. Babe Long and Dick Pope will be travelling to D.C. with full honors richly deserved. The last time I was in D.C. they were just starting to build that memorial. Although the trip may be arduous, I am sure they will appreciate the honor from being our greatest generation.
Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 1900 hours (7:00 PM) and our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings over biscuits and gravy (or waffles) where we keep up on each other’s mischievous doings run generally from 7 am to 9 am if it “ain’t” freezing.