Meetings Page

 

The General Vandenberg Chapter holds it monthly meetings on the 3rd Wednesday and is open to all active and former Officers and their heirs to promote Patriotism, Leadership, National Security and Homeland Security as well as support to Boy and Girl Scouts, ROTC programs and other patriotic organizations.  Guests are always welcome to attend.

 

Meetings are held at:

 

SAN LUIS OBISPO ELKS LODGE #322

222 Elks Lane — San Luis Obispo, California

GRAZIER ROOM

 

1130 hrs ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT (SOCIAL)
1200 hrs INVOCATION, FLAG SALUTE, PREAMBLE, INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS
1215 hrs LUNCH SERVED (cost is $20 which includes tax & gratuity)

Checks can be made out to: MOWW

 

Call 805.528.7565 for reservations or just fill in the following form and your reservation will be emailed to Jim Murphy.  Please submit your reservation by the Friday before the General Meeting.  The lunch is buffet style and the Lodge does an excellent job preparing the food.  Guests are always welcome.

 


 

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Business casual attire is suggested.  We always encourage the wearing of your Military Uniform.

 

 

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS/EVENTS:

 

 

Wednesday February 14

Excom Meeting at the Elks, 9:30 am

Wednesday February 21 Chapter luncheon meeting at the
Elks with social time starting at 11:30 am

          

 

NEXT PROGRAM: 

 

February 21, 2018

 

Program TBA

 

January 17, 2018

 

Captain Gary Hale with the SLO Fire Department (who was deployed for over two weeks on the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties) was scheduled to be the main speaker but was unavailable as he is supporting the ongoing Search and Rescue operations in Montecito . 


Jason Beres, a Fire Prevention Officer with the San Luis Obispo Fire Department was our guest speaker subbing for Capt Hale.  Jason did address the group in October 2015; he is also a BM2 in the US Navy (Former). Jason gave an overview of the fire and flood activities in the Santa Barbara area as best he understood.  He then had a good discussion of fire/disaster preparedness with some cogent handouts including (the first 2 are available to view):

Fire Safe Landscaping
Vial of Life info to post on the refrigerator for First Responders (page 1 page 2)
Family Disaster Supplies Calendar
Update New Requirements for Smoke Alarm Listings
FAQ’s on Carbon Monoxide Devices      

 

Maj Dan Dow
saying "howdy" to the group

(Dan is running for re-election
as SLO DA)

 

Lt Ron Janney introducing Jason Beres (at the head table with Commander Lou) Jason speaking

 

 

Commander Lou citing the
Thank You Certificate to Jason
And the presentation

 

 



December 20, 2017

 

The Special Christmas luncheon was held at the Officers' Club at Camp SLO.  The entertainment was provided the "In Time Trio" performing holiday favorites with their signature three-part harmonies and their sassy, classy and cool moves, as well as some military and patriotic songs.

The Officers Club offered a nice setting for the Christmas Luncheon

Opening invocation was presented by Maj Jim Murphy with Commander LTC Lou Stout and Lt(jg) Joe Brocatto

also at the head table

 

The Buffet Chow Line with Tri-tip and all the trimmings

 

 

The Trio gave a very lively, entertaining performance.

Commander Lou, along with Lt Ron Janney presented each of them a certificate of appreciation

 

Commander Lou presenting a certificate of appreciation to LTC Angel Ortiz, USA NG, the commander of Camp SLO...and member of the chapter, for making the Officers Club available for this special occasion.
Commander Lou had also presented a certificate of appreciation to COL Loren Weeks, USA (ret) for his fine efforts in organizing all of the club arrangements

 

Wayne Gretter was made a Friend of the Chapter (FOC) for his continuing efforts in maintaining the American Heritage Monument that the chapter had dedicated in July, 2013. Wayne did all of the electrical work on the monument and has replaced flags when needed (and lowering to half-staff on designated dates). He has now trained local Boy Scout Troop 51 to assist in the flag efforts.

Dave Frayer (FOC), Wayne, & Lou

at the flag flown on the USS Arizona

Wayne receiving his recognition

   


November 15, 2017

 

There was discussion on the potential of combining some of the MOWW and MOAA meetings and special events in the future.

 

The guest speaker at the meeting was LTC Al Fonzi who is a well-recognized expert on foreign affairs and military preparedness.

Al covered a number of wide geographical conditions around the world and issues of concern to the national security of the United States…. from China, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. One of his personal observations was that our military services are suffering and at a level of preparedness a kin to prior to WW II, he thinks we should re-institute the draft.

 

LTC Fonzi's presentation Certificate of Appreciation presented to Al
by Commander Lou

 

 

 

Friday Oct 13 Joint Meeting

 

The MOWW and MOAA jointly had a "Celebration of Col. Jack Jones' Life", on October 13, 2017 in the Garden Room at the Madonna Inn. This special tribute was in place of our usual Oct 18 meeting.

 

Photos courtesy of LTC Richard Ennes, USAF (ret)

 

A slide show of photos showing Jack in many of his activities was presented by Erick Wand, a very long time friend of Jack.

 

A number of people expressed how pleased, touched, and impressed they were with Erick's slides.

Commander LTC Lou Stout, Erick Wand, and MAJ Jim Murphy.

 

Lou and Jim were the MC's for the meeting. Our thanks to not only Jim, Lou and Erick, but also to Capt David Brandmeyer (MOAA) and Lt Ron Janney for their collective efforts in organizing this fine tribute to Jack.

Craig Jones, Jack's son, presented an overview of his dad and his close family ties as well as the outstanding career of Jack and his many community involvements.

 

Sheriff Ian Parkinson highlighting Jack's law enforcement career Councilwoman Debbie Arnold represented the SLO County Board of Supervisors and local congressmen. Debbie is presenting a certificate from our congress representatives. During her talk, Debbie hit on almost all the activities Jack was involved with.
   
COL Loren Weeks, USA (ret) and Lt Col Angel Ortiz (the new commander of Camp San Luis Obispo) presented a bronze plaque of a soldier in battle dress to Craig.

 

 

 

Sept 20, 2017

 

This meeting was primarily the formal induction of the officers for the next year. LTC Louis Stout, USA (ret) will step in as Commander, Maj Jim Murphy will fill in also as Adjutant, Lt Col Angel Ortiz and COL Loren Weeks will be Staff at Large members, and Maj Dan Dow will assume membership chair. See the Officers page.

 

 

LTC Patrick Clark, USA (ret) (and MOWW Region Vice Commander) installing LTC Louis Stout as our new Commander along with Bonnie Harris, Treasurer, and MAJ Jim Murphy, Sgt at Arms and Adjutant

 

 

 

 

June 21, 2017

 

This was a rather informal meeting to nominate officers for the coming terms and have some remembering of COL Jack Jones.

 

 

 

May 17, 2017

 

As is our May tradition which is Law Enforcement recognition month, we honored Regina Sigmund a Dispatcher from the California Highway Patrol. The Dispatchers are an integral and very important part of law enforcement. We also presented monetary awards to Cal Poly ROTC Cadets, welcomed a new member, and recognized the last attendance of 2 members moving to the East Coast.

 

And the meeting started with Lt(jg) Joe Brocato, USN (fmr) discussing his new endeavor: The MOWW under the leadership of Joe held 3 luncheon tributes to: 1. WWII era Vets, 2. Korean War era Vets, and 3. Vietnam era Vets. 

 

Joe highlighted that a permanent tribute will be made for display at the Veterans Museum in San Luis Obispo under the coordination of Joe and COL Jack Jones, USA (ret) who also heads up the museum.  Plaques will be prepared and displayed on the walls with the names of local veterans listed by their period of service:
WWII Era
Korea Era
Vietnam Era
Post-Vietnam Era

All of the service collages previously prepared will also be archived and made available for public viewing.  In this regard, Joe has slightly reformatted the collages to provide a space for a personal signature and intends that each and every collage be signed.

 

LTC Josh Gillen, USA heads up the ROTC program at Cal Poly and introduced the Cadets selected to receive monetary awards.

 

From LtoR: LTC Gillen, cadet Vanesa Tat (received $500), cadet Madeline Parker ($300), and freshman Wyatt Smith ($200).

 

Cadets Tat and Parker are majoring in Architectural Engineering and cadet Smith in Ag Science.

 

 

 

CHP Captain Mike Bueno indicated how pleased he was to have Regina recognized as she is “one of the best” dispatchers and he had many good things to say about her.  The force in the field relies heavily on their interface with the dispatchers and the cool, calm, professional demeanor of Regina is appreciated. There are only 13 CHP dispatchers covering SLO County and 2/3 of Santa Barbara County.


Seated to the left of the Captain is Lieutenant Mike Brown and Public Safety Dispatcher Supervisor Doug Showalter.

Regina shared a few brief remarks. Looking on are

Lt Ron Janney and Maj Mary Baiamonte, USAF (fmr)

& retired CHP dispatcher

Ron read the very impressive description of Regina's background on the Certificate given to her
Lt(jg) Joe presented the Bravo Zulu award to Regina with Captain Mike proudly looking on And our Commander handed out a box of candy (to be shared with the dispatchers back at the office)

 

 

COL Jack Jones accepted COL Loren Weeks, USA (ret) into the chapter with sponser Lt Col Angel Ortiz presenting a medallion.

 

 

But we have to say goodbye to longtime member CDR Walt Stacy, USN (ret) and his bride Doris as they are moving to Florida. LTC Josh Gillen received a plaque from Commander Ron for his excellent work with the ROTC program...at which time Josh mentioned he is transferring to Ft. Myer in Washington to take a command position. We wish God Speed to all.

 

Walt and Doris Josh and Ron

 

 

 

 



April 19, 2017

 

This was scheduled to be a meeting to award scholarships to 3 ROTC cadets at Cal Poly. There turned out to be a conflict with the student classes and they were unable to attend. The awards will be made at a later time.

 

In the interim.....

 

COL Jack Jones, USA (ret) gave a talk on the past accomplishments of our chapter and the notable support provided by a number of individuals in attendance.

 

A key issue with the chapter is a declining membership and having individuals step up to the plate and assume some of the officer/committee responsibilities.

 

The assignment: volunteer and recruit!!

 

 

Lt(jg) Joe Brocato, USN (fmr) is into military history and comes up with a number of interesting projects. The one he discussed at the meeting was his collection of WWII renderings depicting different scenes as shown below. Each drawing bears the signature of individuals that actually were involved in the conflict shown. There is also a montage of photos, patches, and service highlights of some individuals at the bottom of the renderings.

 

Joe does intend to donate these (and others) to a museum in the future.

 

 

Our own CDR Walt Stacy, USN (ret) flew a Corsair depicted in the picture above him during WWII...logging over 1,000 hours. Walt was not in one of the planes depicted flying over the bridge in San Francisco, but he did his share

 

 

COL Loren Weeks, USA (ret) joined the chapter today and gave an interesting recap of his distinguished career...with some light moments. Welcome aboard Loren AND LTC Lou Stout, USA (ret) collecting his 50-50 winnings from MAJ Jim Murphy

 

 

 

March 15, 2017

 

Lt Ron Janney, USN (fmr) Sr Vice Commander conducted the meeting.

 

Our last minute speaker was Companion and District Attorney Maj. Dan Dow, CA ARNG.  Dan gave a very informative talk about the DA’s office and some of his leadership philosophy.


April is Victim’s Rights Month.  A Victim/Witness Assistance Program was initiated in 1977 by our late companion Judge Capt Christopher Money, USA (fmr) here in San Luis Obispo County and has since been incorporated into all 58 counties in California.  This program is staffed by non-lawyers dedicated to helping people; they work with victims and witnesses to provide assistance where they can and to keep them informed on the status of their pending criminal case.


District Attorney Dow has arranged to dedicate and rename the center as the “Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center”. A special plaque to honor Judge Money will be mounted in the DA’s office on April 12 ~ noon.  Dan invited the companions at the meeting to attend (RSVP appreciated).  The invitation was also extended to attend a public victims’ rights rally on the courthouse steps at 11:30 am.  The unveiling of the memorial plaque will be inside the Palm St. entrance to the courthouse immediately following the rally.


An interesting perspective of the DA’s office under Dan’s leadership is to fully assess the evidence in any case, and if it is not sufficient to warrant going to trial the case will not be prosecuted. The preference would rather be to perhaps have a few guilty people walking free rather than innocent people in prison. In 2016 there were >13K criminal cases submitted to the DA’s office in the county, but only 10-11K ended up being prosecuted in court.


Another initiative is to be proactive in giving youthful offenders on relatively minor offenses an option of going to a class and staying out of trouble for 4-6 months and not having the incident on their record.  Putting the offense on their record seems to result in another offense 22% of the time…as since they have a record, what the heck!  Conversely with the option offered less than 7% commit another offense as they have the incentive to keep their record clean.


Our chapter is fortunate to have Maj Dow as a companion and the county of San Luis Obispo is very fortunate to have him as our District Attorney.

 

Lt(jg) Joe Brocatto also presented a Bronze Sculpture to Lt Mike Mullahey, USNR (fmr) for his support to the Veteran Tribute Luncheons and his continuing support to many of the past MOWW projects.

 

It was close to St. Patricks Day...so the Elks had Corned Beef & Cabbage in the chow line Dan giving his presentation
Col Jack Jones presenting a challenge coin to Dan, with Acting Commander Lt Ron Janney looking on Congratulations to Dan on a nice presentation

 

Joe presenting the Bronze Sculpture to Mike ...thanks Mike for all your support

 

 

 

February 15, 2017

 

Our featured speaker was Whitney Ward, and yes, son of Commander Chuck. Whit works with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres). They work to deliver high quality, emergency medical care to people who are in urgent need of help.

 

MSF (the ID they go with) is a part of the UN but separately financed primarily by private donations...which gives them much needed flexibility to get things done. (Just as a point of interest, 89% of their funds are spent on program activities, 10% fundraising, and 1% management with a world wide staff over 31,000.)

 

Whitney has over the years been involved in a number of camps for Doctors without Borders and is very much associated with the logistics. He gave us an overview of a Mozambique refugee camp in the southern part of Africa which he helped set up to assist civil war refugees from neighboring Malaw. MSF had the task of doing more than medicine…they had to set up the camp, drill wells due to the shortage of water, provide food and makeshift shelter…and medical assistance. Big international organizations are involved but the bureaucracy is intensive and it takes a long time for any action to actually happen. There are many barriers that they fight through...bureaucratic and political.

 

The location of the camp was less than optimal/accessible because of political issues with countries involved. The refugee population quickly grew to over 15,000 and as Whitney pointed out that is a lot of people but small compared to the camps for Syrian refugees which are in the hundreds of thousands. MSF does contract with local government companies/workers. Because of the camp location, access was very limited for trucks delivering food and supplies especially during the rainy season.

 

Whitney is always impressed by the attitude and demeanor of the refugees, very resilient under very difficult conditions.

 

After about a year, the camp was moved to a much more favorable, accessible location after resolving some political issues. Whit was also instrumental in the decommisioning of the initial camp.

 

Whitney had a slide/video show planned but that did not happen due to projector/computer incompatibly problems...so we had an excellent verbal overview that you had to be there to appreciate. Whitney was called back for an emergency issue involving some of the MFS employees and the local authorities so he had to leave after his presentation for passport, flight arrangements.

 

After lunch, James Brabeck officially became a Friend of the Chapter.

 

Whitney giving his talk

Commander (proud dad) Chuck

with a medallion for Whitney.

Chuck's last official act as our Commander

 

Ron Janney presenting a Friend of the Chapter certificate to Jim Braback with WWII Vet Leo Dumouchelle, recent Friend of the Chapter Joan Gellert-Sargen, and Joe Brocato assisting

Dan Dow highlighting some of the many community services that Jim is involved with

 

 

January 18, 2017

 

Lt(jg) Joe Brocato (Region XIV Commander for MOWW), acting as a member of this chapter, presented a Statue from the Vietnam Veterans Tribute to the man that designed it and followed its creation into bronze...Mark Greenaway. The base of the statue had some appropriate words recognizing Mark's talent and contribution.

 

Mark worked very closely with Joe in the design and fabrication of this fine statue Only fitting that the creator gets one! Commander Chuck joined Mark and Joe for a "Thank You"

 

 

Joe also had some major recognition for Jim Brabeck, President and CEO of our local Farm Supply company. Jim has been a long time supporter of veterans and Joe recognized this with:

Certificate of Appreciation for his continuing support to veterans
Box containing the Sands of Iwo Jima
Bronze statue for Jim's contributions supporting the Vietnam Veteran Tribute

 

Joe with statue, Jim with Sands of Iwo, Chuck with certificate Jim gave some heartfelt comments on his respect and appreciation for all service personnel and of all veterans

 

 

LTC G. Russell Zink, USA (Ret) was the featured speaker at the meeting. LTC Zink, then CPT Zink, was a commander of an infantry company in Vietnam. LTC Zink was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with V and cluster (second award), Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal as well as many service ribbons for his two tours in country.

 

Russ shared some of his experiences in Vietnam and gave an excellent overview of this conflict. Many of the companions mentioned that his was one of the best, most concise and clear discussions of this war. Some of slides that Russ had are shown here in an attempt to capture his observations.

 

The Topic with Russ's montage that Joe Brocato made for the Vietnam Veteran Tribute Russ Presenting
The Geography A telling recap of how long this went on and what happened under the 5 Presidents
Russ's cogent assessment of the
Vietnam Conflict
A certificate of appreciation
presented by Joe and Chuck

 

 

 

 

 

Header design courtesy of Graphics by Erick in San Luis Obispo