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


Fellow Companions and Friends


It is with great sadness that we write of the passing of Chaplain William John Houston on Monday, March 11, 2019. As each of you know, Bill was a corner stone of the Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of The World Wars and the Central California Coast Chapter of the Military Officers As­sociation of America. At virtually every luncheon, meeting, event or fund raiser, Bill set the social and moral air of the occasion, while always being the first to tell a relevant joke or a light-hearted story.


 Memorial services will be held for CDR William J. Houston, USN on April 6th at 11:00 AM, at the Estrella Warbirds Museum located at 4251 Dry Creek Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446. Finally, there will be a “Celebration of ‘Padre Bill’s’ Life”, on Friday, April 12th, at 11:30 AM at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. This will be a combined luncheon meeting of the Vandenberg Chapter of the MOWW and the Central California Coast Chapter of the MOAA. Members of all local military organizations and the public are welcome to participate. Reservations are required NLT April 8 by close of business.








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Worst Sea Disaster in US Naval History

I began the year much as I did last year.  In spite of getting a flu shot, I joined the crowd.  After getting over the sinus infection, coughing, congestion and other symptoms, I sank into a general feeling of malaise. About the only energy that I had was to just sit on the sofa and read a book.  I picked up a book that I have had for a while and started reading.  INDIANAPOLIS by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic is a well written, thoroughly researched, and comprehensive story of the sinking of the ship that carried the components of the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island, and was then torpedoed on the way from Guam to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.  Once I started reading, I had trouble putting the book down.

I have read other books about the Indianapolis, including In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton, and a brief historical report of the sinking by Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison in his 15 Volume history of the US Navy in World War II.  I have also read Time and Tide by Thomas Fleming, which is a book of fiction combining the actions of two ships, USS Chicago and USS Indianapolis into a non-existent ship, the USS Jefferson City.  The book by Vincent and Vladic is the culmination of more than a decade of research, and included interviews with survivors, other veterans, and many of those involved in the story of the flagship of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance.  It begins in 1932 with the commissioning of the ship and continues with the story of the Indy and her crew up until the sinking on July 30, 1945.

But that is only part of the story.  The authors have also included the development of the bomb that ended World War II, and the involvement of the US Army officers as they were embarked on the voyage across the Pacific accompanying their top secret cargo.  The story includes world leaders, and top Navy brass.  The four days and five nights after the sinking when nearly 900 men go into the water, after about 300 of the crew went down with ship, might be considered the main part of the story.  Especially true when only 316 survived the ordeal.  This chapter was hard to read.   But an equally important part of the story is the 50 year battle to exonerate the skipper of the ship, Captain Charles B. McVay, III, who was court-martialed.  The narrative includes the Commander of the Japanese submarine that sank the Indy, as well as many who were involved in the rescue of the survivors.  The story is not only their participation in the Philippine Sea, but in the trial, and even well beyond the end of World War II.  Recent reunions of the survivors, authors, and other involved people are included.

Following the “Final Log Entry”, the authors have included the “Final Sailing List” which lists all the 1197 crew members of the USS Indianapolis, with an asterisk to denote each of the 316 survivors.

If you are a student of history, reading about the involvement of the top Navy brass, and the facts leading up to, and the testimony during the court-martial, may be cause for you to re-examine some of your thinking.  I strongly recommend the book to anyone interested in the story of the USS Indianapolis, US Navy history, or the fight to exonerate an innocent man.

LT Ron Janney




Membership Information


Adjutant’s Corner

Going through old papers, I came across an interesting paragraph in Dr. John Opdycke’s book Harper’s English Grammar.

“Gender is that difference or distinction made among nouns and pronouns (no other part of speech has gender) that indicates whether they signify male sex, female sex, either sex, or neither sex. Nouns signifying male sex are called masculine, as boy, James, landlord, horse; those signifying female sex are called feminine, as girl, Julia, landlady, mare; those signifying either sex are called common or indeterminate in gender, as assistant, buyer, citizen, driver , friend, helper, lawyer, listener, monarch, relative, worker; those signifying absence of sex, or sexlessness, are called neuter, as chair, desk, fear, fund, share, trip, wagon, zeal. It is important to remember that the terms masculine, feminine, indeterminate, neuter belong to the idea of gender, not to the idea of sex.”

Later Dr. Opdycke says “In the time of Shakespeare the (feminine) forms were much more extended than they are now.” He cites many examples of then common feminizes, then says “But now, happily, we say chairman…postmistress.” I need to answer further: We seem to basically have removed any specific use of feminine words such as “actress”, and now almost exclusively render any words as masculine


I know there are some who try to be correct, but it seems as they are now in the minority as we bend to political correctness.
Harper’s English Grammar had the last copywrites in 1965. My, how times have changed!





We, as members of MOWW, know there are periodic expenditures: Of course we have our meals to pay for; in addition there are other obligations, depending on a member’s desire: Locally we are expected to pay annual dues of $15; some elect to be Perpetual  members and are then exempt from regular National dues of  $40 a year.

Local dues; $15/year payable the first of each year

National dues: $40/payable to National based on the member’s date of joining

The Executive Committee has opted not to send out notices of the dues requirements but we trust in the good graces of our members to step forward at the beginning of each calendar year to make good their obligation! Consider this an advanced notice! Thanks so much for your continued physical, psychological and moral support!




We have a strong chapter but you will realize that most of the burden of chapter duties rest on the shoulders of just a few. In the coming months someone may tap you on your shoulder and ask if you’d take on one of the many administrative chores we are obligated to provide to our community.

Please note your interest in any of the below areas of service to the chapter. Contact an officer for greater details of what may be required of you. Some members already assist in most of these areas, so the load will not rest with one person! The amount of time dedicated by each person varies but is usually distributed throughout the year.

  1. Patriotic Education:
  3. Scouts:
  4. Membership:
  5. Memorials:
  6. Publicity/Photography:
  7. Nominating:
  8. Phone:
  9. Wellness:
  10. Chapter Activities:
  11. Awards: Law Enforcement of the Year
  12. Books and related:
  13. Programs: Youth Leadership; Lost At Sea; guest speakers;
  14. National Security: (Includes Homeland Security)
  15. Historian: LTC Larry Geist



Our Chapter was formed over 27 years ago is and continues to be active in our community since that time. We have sponsored and been successful in with many programs. Some of past years 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 maintaining the flags
And support to many other Community/Veteran events 





SGT AT ARMS: remarks from MAJ James Murphy:

The Department of Defense has had a long standing policy of assigning military officers as inspectors at critical manufacturing facilities. Some years ago, at the Lockheed plant in Burbank, an Air Force major noticed that some of the assemblers would often install parts incorrectly, leading to some significant recalls to correct the problem. He reasoned “that if a part could be installed incorrectly, someone would install it incorrectly. “ This officer’s name was (no relation) was Murphy and his finding led to the very first “Murphy’s Law”, something that has stood the test of time and has generated a multitude of variations, including a 365 page edition of an annual calendar! Keep this in mind as you ponder the following “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. I feel certain as well that most of us, both in the service and in civilian experiences, can relate:

Laws of Project Management

  1. No major project is ever installed on time, within budget or with the same staff that started it. Yours will not be the first.
  2. Projects progress quickly until they become 90% complete, then they remain at 90% complete for an indefinite period of time.
  3. One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.
  4. When things are going well, something will go wrong. When things can’t get worse, they will. When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
  5. If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
  6. NO system is ever completely debugged. Attempts to debug a system inevitability introduce new bugs that are even harder to find.
  7. A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project will take only twice as long.
  8. Project teams detest progress reporting because it vividly manifests their lack of progress.


Chaplains Corner

Forward Day by Day

John 8:31-32: Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

On the wall by my computer is a sign that says, “Speak the truth but leave immediately thereafter.”

Speaking the truth surely buys Jesus serious trouble. As soon as he tells the crowds following him that the truth will make them free, they insist they don’t need freeing, shouting that they are the children of Abraham and of God---and that Jesus is probably a Samaritan possessed by the demon!

It is an uncomfortable truth Jesus offers: Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. (John 34). We don’t want to admit the truth of our reality; like an addict, we claim “we can quit anytime we want.” But Jesus knows the whole and entire truth, and only he can set us free from sin.
Can we accept this truth---that we need freeing?

MAJ Jim Murphy