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 September 13 Excom meeting at the Elks, 9:30 am
no breakfast but lots of coffee, all companions invited
Wednesday September 20

Chapter Luncheon Meeting at the Elks

11:30 am

Friday October 13
Revised Date

Celebration of Life for COL Jack Jones
Joint luncheon meeting with the MOAA Chapter
Madonna Inn, Garden Room upstairs
11:30 am

This will take the place of our regular October Meeting

          

We are dark for July and August. Next regular meeting is Sept 20 at the Elks

 

NEXT PROGRAM: 

 

Sept 20, 2017

 

This meeting will primarily be the formal induction of the officers for the next year. Scroll down and note the officer changes from the June 21 meeting.

 

 

Note: Oct 13 Joint Meeting:

 

The MOWW and MOAA will jointly have a "Celebration of Col. Jack Jones' Life", on October 13, 2017
in the Garden Room at the Madonna Inn from 11:30 am -2:30 pm. 


All groups that Jack was associated with will be invited to attend and share their memories.

 

 

June 21, 2017

 

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

 

LTC Lous 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.

 

The actual induction of officers will be done at the September meeting.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

December 21, 2016

 

This was our annual Christmas Social Luncheon....we had some excellent social time, good food, awards made, and some very good entertainment by the Gold Coast Brass Band. These horn musicians do an excellent job with some very fine music....patriotic, seasonal, and all very easy listening. Thanks Guys.

 

Lt(jg) Joe Brocato (Region XIV Commander for MOWW), acting as a member of this chapter, presented Statue and Certificate awards to some very special people for their support to the recent Vietnam Veterans Tribute as well as the prior two Tribute luncheons (Korea War Vets and WWII Vets):

 

 

Padre Bill (aka CDR Bill Houston) always gives a very appropriate invocation & benediction The Gold Coast Brass Band playing some great music...and after just having lunch! The quintet has two trumpets, a trombone, a Tuba, and a French horn.

Joe with some special guests: LtoR.Diane Brocato, Kathleen Silva, Joan Gellert-Sargen, Patricia Harris, Kathleen Choal,

Eric Daniels, & Joe

From the right side, Maj Dan Dow with his guest Lee Cunningham the Asst DA (1st right), Erick Wand and his wife Jennifer,

and the regular members

Commander "Santa" Chuck Ward with his guests John Rosa (will be 99 in February) and Barbara Ward with Conne Frayer (Dave taking the photo!). We sat at the table with the band members as they enjoyed lunch.

Kathleen Choal, President and General Manager, KSBY_TV accepting her statue award from Joe Brocato for the excellent news coverage of the Tributes and financial support.

Commander Ward looking on.

 

 

Patricia Harris, chairwoman SLO Democratic Party, accepting a statue for her volunteer efforts in all three Tributes Eric Daniels, Govt Relations for PG&E, with an award to PG&E for their continuing financial support And Joan Gellert-Sargen receiving a certificate as a new Friend of the Chapter and a Bravo Zulu award for her exceptional support to all of the Veterans Tributes

 

 

 

November 16, 2016

 

 

 

 

This was an event filled afternoon...starting with the Elk's preparation of an excellent early Thanksgiving Lunch with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salad, etc, etc!

 

Lots of photos to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lt(jg) Joe Brocato presented 4 of the Vietnam Veteran Tribute bronze sculptures mounted on a uniquely engraved base to:

Sandra Duerr, VP & Executive Editor of The Tribune for the continuing excellent coverage of the paper to all of the Tribute events

and

The 3 photographers at all of the events: pros: Dennis Young & Ben Di Fatta and your webmaster Dave Frayer.

 

Joe and Ms. Duerr Commander Chuck, Joe, and Dennis Young
The guys presenting to Ben Di Fatta And to your webmaster Dave

 

 

 

Commander Chuck Ward introducing Col Joe Rigello, USA. Joe was in the Cadet Corps during his high school years and was commissioned in 1980 at Cal Poly Army ROTC. He was an infantry platoon leader and later company commander. Joe attended flight school graduating in 1988 flying Hueys & Cobras. He was an Attack Helicopter Company Commander and graduated from Naval Postgraduate School with a Masters in International Security.

 

Joe has over 36 years in uniform and took command of Camp San Luis Obispo in late 2012. In addition to being the Commander of Camp San Luis Obispo, Joe is also an active member of the Vandenberg Chapter.

 

 

 

Joe gave a very good overview of the military reserve status and functions and of the California National Guard. Trying to recap in words his overview would not do it justice, so we will show a few of his slides which say a lot.

 

The Reserves and Guard are a major part of our military force and provide a surprising amount of support to the active forces:

 

 

A major difference between the Reserves and the National Guard is of course that the Guard is under the direction of the State Governor.

It was of interest to note the wide deployment of The Guard globally...in addition to their domestic roles at times of trouble and disaster.

 

 

Col Joe answering some questions after his presentation Chuck giving Joe the Certificate of Appreciation

 

 

Chuck Ward introduced the new Excom Members at Large...welcome gentlemen!

 

LtoR: Chuck, Col Joe, CDR Walt Stacy, and LTC Lou Stout

To end the program, CPT Dick Hathcock presented a huge American Flag to Col Joe to fly at Camp SLO

 

 

 

October 19, 2016

 

Sr. Vice Commander Lt Ron Janney filled in for Commander 1Lt Chuck Ward again this month, Chuck did make it to the meeting but has temporarily assigned his duties to Ron and the Excom as Chuck continues to address his back issues....and many of us know the issues related to the back!

 

COL Jack Jones started the meeting with a discussion of National MOWW's goal of increasing membership. Jack gave the request that each one bring one. Person to person contact is the best recruiting tool. Jack is also looking for some companion(s) to step up to relieve some of his chapter load.

 

The food for lunch was excellent again...the Elks do a nice job. For those of you that have not been to a meeting in awhile you not only miss the good chow but also the companionship and listening to some good speakers.

 

Our special speaker for this month was Ren Stelloh who spent many years in the CIA. He had twenty six years in field assignments in Madras, New Delhi, Frankfurt, Cairo, and Los Angeles, served on the Counterterrorism Task Force in Afghanistan and Iran, and was promoted to the Senior Intelligence Service in 1996. He then became the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) representative in Los Angeles with operational responsibility for Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.  He coordinated Federal and local law enforcement efforts, and served on the Mayor’s Task force for Port Security. After leaving the CIA he was the CEO of a local communications company until 2012 when he retired to Paso Robles.

 

Ren talked about the organization of the CIA, which is fairly extensive and has a lot of acronyms. The Central Intelligence Agency is an independent agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers. The CIA is separated into seven basic components: Directorates of: Analysis, Operations, Science & Technology, Support, & Digital Innovation, Mission Centers and Offices of the Director. There are 13 offices: Four offices concentrate on regional political and economic issues, six examine broad trans-national issues, and three focus on policy, collection, and staff support. Of course a main focus is to recruit human assets (agents) to provide intelligence. Ren gave an interesting insight into some of his recruiting experiences. This is a whole different world from what most of us have actually experienced. Nice presentation.

 

 

Lt Ron and Ren at the head table

(couple of guys from the group looking on!)

COL Jack addressing the companions

Ren with his extemporaneous excellent presentation

Ren making a point

The handshake on Ren receiving the Certificate of Appreciation from Lt. Ron

And the formal pose

 

 

Sept 21, 2016

 

Sr. Vice Commander Lt Ron Janney filled in for Commander 1Lt Chuck Ward as Chuck is battling a very bad back, and we all wish him well. The attendance was light but the program was one everyone would have enjoyed.

 

Ron started the meeting with a call to lunch and it was an excellent meal with chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and many trimmings. Ron then read a very long description highlighted in the National MOWW award to Lt(jg) Joe Brocato recognizing Joe for his many contributions to the Chapter. Bravo Zulu Joe!

 

Companion Col Joe Righello, Commander Camp SLO, talked about some of the many interesting projects/activities occurring on the base ranging from fire fighting training to cyber security training of law enforcement (done in conjunction with Cal Poly). Camp San Luis Obispo is the original home of the California Army National Guard. It served as an Infantry Division Camp for the United States Army during World War II. Col Joe extended an invitation to the Chapter to tour the base. That tour will be set up sometime in November.

 

COL Jack Jones gave a very eloquent recap of the history of our Chapter covering the last 26 years (25+1). Beginning with a cadre of 15 members in 1990, the Chapter met for the first time in Santa Maria, with many of the members having been affiliated with the U.S. Air Force and Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Hence the reason for the selection of our name.) Over the years as commanders changed, so did the luncheon sites and the Chapter slowly moved north going through Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and ultimately to the San Luis Obispo Elks Lodge in 1998. Jack mentioned each of the past Commanders and talked about their backgrounds. He then went around the room and discussed the contributions of the companions present. This Chapter does have a lot to be proud of.

 

Those of you that could not attend, missed a good one (webmaster editorial).

 

 

Crowd was thin but the program was heavy

Lt(jg) Joe accepting the National MOWW Award for his many accomplishments

from Lt Ron

Col Joe giving a fine recap of the many activities/projects ongoing at Camp San Luis Obispo

Col Jack with his stroll down memory lane

And our ever present past commander

MAJ Jim Murphy doing his 50-50 raffle number

 

 

 

June 15, 2016

 

This was the installation of officers and presentation of awards meeting (and the Elks had everyone's favorite meat loaf/mashed potatoes for lunch!).

 

All of the current officers were reinstalled to their respective positions for the coming year. Thank you gentlemen and lady.

 

Capt Dick Hathcock reading off the names of the continuing officers

COL Jack Jones installing the officers present:

COL Jones: Adjutant, MAJ Jim Murphy: Sgt at Arms,

Maj Dan Dow: Judge Advocate, Capt Dick Hathcock: Jr. Vice CO,

Bonnie Harris: Treasurer, and 1stLt Chuck Ward: Commander

 

 

AND recognition of some of the special companions:

 

Chuck presenting an Outstanding Service Award medallion to Bonnie Harris for her excellent job as Treasurer for the Chapter Chuck presenting a recognition Membership Award to Col Joe Righello, with Jack's support
Jim Hawkins also received the MOWW Membership Award with Jack and Chuck presenting Chuck with 1stLt Dennis Odekirk recognizing Dennis's support in preparation of the Chapter annual report with a USMC Challenge Coin

 

 

 

 

 

Header design courtesy of Graphics by Erick in San Luis Obispo