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THE COMMANDER: LTC Louis Stout, USA, (Ret.)  




We are marking an end of our era whose hallmarks were dedication, excellence, perseverance and service to our community. During November we will be addressing the very core of our growth going forward. At our forthcoming MOWW EXCOM on Nov. 8th we will be finalizing recommendations for very specific changes in our organization’s programs and structure going forward, including combining MOWW and MOAA monthly social meetings, starting in 2018. We will present our recommendations to the full Membership at the Nov. 15th luncheon.

I Strongly encourage your attendance at the 11/8 EXCOM and our 11/15/17 luncheon.  

Our Chapter was formed 26 years ago and has been active in our community since that time. We have sponsored and been successful in with many programs. Some of the continuing activities and accomplishments include:

Cal Poly ROTC Awards and Commissioning Ceremonies
Grizzly Youth Leadership Conferences
Veteran Tribute Luncheons (WWII, Korean, and Vietnam)
Lost at Sea Memorial Day Ceremonies
Law Enforcement Month honoring select local police
Charles Paddock Zoo Statue and Sign special project
Your American Heritage Monument with Boy Scouts
And support to many other Community/Veteran events

Our Chapter is very active but in order to continue we need more membership support. The same few people have done most of the work for the past years. This year, we lost Chuck Ward and Jack Jones, two of our strongest volunteers. Therefore, the main challenge this new Chapter year will be to get more active support from our existing members and to recruit new active members.

Your Executive Committee asks for your feedback on how to make this happen and any other constructive suggestions you may have.








    November, 2017 October, 2017
September, 2017 June, 2017 May, 2017 April, 2017
March, 2017 February, 2017 January, 2017 December, 2016




SR. VICE COMMANDER, Lt Ronald Janney


A Memoir by USS Arizona Survivor

“At 8:06 AM on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno.  A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor.  Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel.  Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.

In this extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack--- the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona---ninety-four-year-old Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.”

The above quotation was taken from the inside dust jacket of the book written by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire.  We all know of the attack, and what it meant to our country.  If you have studied history, or read about the Arizona, you know that 1177 men from the Arizona men died as a result of the attack.  We do not often, or maybe never, think about the survivors.  There were not many, and this account from one of them is riveting.  I could not put the book down once I started reading.  It is well written, and gives some insight on not only what happened that day, but is a remarkable story  of what Don Stratton went through during the healing process, and his return to active duty in the Navy after being discharged.  On February 26, 1944 he went to Omaha to get back in the Navy.  He served on a destroyer, the USS Stack.  He saw action in the Third Fleet under Admiral Halsey at New Guinea, Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa. 


This book is one that I highly recommend, whether you are a student of history or not. 


Lt Ron



Membership Information


Some last thoughts of Jack: We are asking each member to reach out to bring in at least one new member within the next six months. In other words, “Each one – Reach one!”


A way to accomplish the mission: Stress the positive aspects of belonging to MOWW, and the Vandenberg Chapter in particular. Ask yourself, “Why do I belong?” Then when you think about all the reasons you enjoy MOWW and what we do, then you have the foundation for “selling” the Order to someone else.


Next, always carry an application with you to present to a prospective member which shows your commitment to being serious about having him (or her) join. I would suggest you go over the Preamble with him and relate it to what we do in our chapter to reflect our commitment to the Preamble and Order.





SGT AT ARMS: remarks from MAJ James Murphy:



Birth of the Shore Party


Prior to WW II the Marine Corps was developing strategic plans to conduct amphibious operations, specifically in the Pacific. During WW I the British conducted an amphibious landing on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli. It was a military disaster and almost ended the political career of Winston Churchill. As a result of the Gallipoli fiasco, military planners believed that such operations were either stupid, extremely impractical if not impossible.


A number of devices were invented and built that changed how such operations, that is, landing a military force from the sea to occupy and defend the land could and would succeed. Many we know today: Landing craft of various sizes, the LCVP, two sizes of LCM, LCI, LST, the list seems to go on and on.


Today these are relegated to museums or in “boneyards” such as Suisun Bay. Hull definitions have changed over the years; I served for two years on an amphibious ship designated “APA”; a similar designation today would be “LPA”. There are currently eleven Navy hull designations “L”, for landing. I’ll not bore the reader with going down that list!  While the largest ships in the U. S. Navy are the super carriers, the next ships in size are all amphibious of one type or another and intended to provide transportation and support to a landing force. These include (not intended to be all inclusive!) Landing Ship Docks (LSD) (designed to carry both amphibious tractors and air cushion landing craft,) and helicopter carriers to identify other major classes of these ships.


Some time ago the Naval Institute Proceedings  carried a letter from a Navy LtCdr who questioned the role of the Army in amphibious operations. I had taught engineer amphibious operations for three years at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado. It was a joint command and for enjoyment the Army captain and I swapped roles: He would teach the Marines, I would teach the Army. So I had more than a casual knowledge of the Army’s role in such operations. In my response to this LtCdr I pointed out that the Army, during WW II conducted more amphibious landings of battalion size and larger than the Marine Corps. (This number included a great number of separated landings in and on the many islands of the Philippines, so the number may be considered skewed somewhat.) I also commented on the largest amphibious operation in the history of warfare: Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, an Army lead operation, more commonly known as “D-Day.” (Of course we all know there were many real D-Days!)


There is a relatively small and often overlooked unit that played a major role in ensuring the success of every one of these landings. Later, as the services developed what came to be known as “Vertical envelopment” or ship to shore via airborne helicopters, a similar task force was developed. The first was known as Shore Party; the latter titled Helicopter Support Teams (HST). Due to the length of this paper, I shall continue a more in depth discussion of both the Shore Party and HST in a follow on article. Stay tuned!




Chaplains Corner


The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked him if he believed they should pay taxes to the Roman Emperor. He asked why they were challenging him. It was evident to Jesus that they were laying a trap for him. He responded by asking whose face is on the Roman coin. They said it was Caesar’s. Jesus simply answered, “Give to Caesar what is his.” The Pharisees went away marveling at Jesus’ wisdom.


How many times have we also been challenged and perhaps tricked when placed in a hostile situation and asked to answer more as the person wishes than we know is right and correct? I think this is truer today than perhaps ever in our lives. Consider the political climate of our country and the bickering and arguing that seems more rampant than ever. I believe that it is impossible to conduct a rational debate with some people on matters of local and national matters. We may also be guilty of such a strong position that we are not willing to listen to opposing points of view. Logic and reason seem to have disappeared at such times. Jesus was logical in his response and the Pharisees could not provide a plausible counter argument to that logic.


Politics is not the only area of concern today. International issues and especially the role of religion across the globe should be a grave concern to every thinking citizen. Across the country we hear terms such a “Black Lives Matter” and the actions of some law enforcement against minorities. The issue of “taking the knee” has become a symbol of I’m not sure what. The issue in all of these is simple: Neither side is prepared to discuss their concerns and have predisposed to a mind set. No one seems prepared to present a position but as we observe in the media, these exchanges almost always end in shouting matches with no settling of the topic.


We, as an educated populace need to go back and listen again to what Jesus said and try to apply His logic and reasoning to the events that surround our daily lives. Ignoring them does not offer solutions. Be strong, give thanks and pray to your God!





M990507, LT Jay Gruenfeld, member of the Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars has commissioned a book, written about his World War II combat experience.  He said his experience in combat was rather unique.  By the age 20.5 he had been wounded five times, had killed many enemy, and received a battlefield commission to 2LT.  He thought it was worth while getting Todd DePastino to help produce,


COMMISSIONED IN BATTLE, my war experiences. 246 pages,  published by Hellgate Press.  To add to its value as a World War II combat history book, it is rather unique because it gives details on Jay’s many kills. COMMISSIONED IN BATTLE, autographed is available from Jay in the U.S. for $14 (Two for $26 )—outside the U.S. for $12 plus postage.


Jay Gruenfeld
815 S. 216th St. #27
Des Moines, WA 98198
Tel 253 509 3646