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


Fellow Companions and Friends


The 2017 Annual Christmas Gala held at the newly renovated Camp San Luis Obispo Officers Club (Templeton Center) exceeded all expectations. The event was well attended by MOWW Companions, MOAA Members, family and guests. The facility was beautifully decorated and the meal was excellent. The “New Life Trio” provided entertainment consisting of foot stomping, traditional and sing-along Christmas carols.


Each member of the Trio was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for their outstanding performance. In addition, LTC Angel Ortiz (the SLO Camp Commander) and COL Loren Weeks were each recognized and awarded a MOWW Certificate of Appreciation for sponsoring the arrangements for the facility. EXCOM’s have agreed to hold our next joint Christmas Gala at the same location. Again, our thanks go to LTC Ortiz and COL Weeks for their generous support.


During our Christmas Luncheon, Wayne Gretter was recognized and awarded a certificate as a “Friend of the Chapter”. Wayne worked very closely with Chuck Ward during the design and construction of the American Heritage Monument. Wayne did all of the electrical work. After construction Wayne was THE GUY to make sure the flags were lighted and in good shape. He would often remove some of the flags (the full American and the Betsy Ross flags fly together) to have them cleaned and/or replaced (Chuck would buy the flags). This continues after 4.5 years. As Chuck would have said, he is “one of the good guys”. Welcome aboard Wayne.








January, 2018 December, 2017 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




We will have members of local fire departments as our guest speakers for our January meeting.  Jason Beres, a Fire Prevention Officer with the San Luis Obispo Fire Department will be one of them.  Jason was our guest speaker at the October 2015 meeting, and is also a BM2 in the US Navy (Former).  He is also arranging to have Captain Gary Hale with the SLO Fire Department be the main speaker.  Captain Hale was deployed for over two weeks on the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.  He was involved with wildland fires, and was very involved in protecting structures during that catastrophe.  Jason will also try to have a Cal Poly Hotshot at the meeting.  The Hotshots are Cal Poly students majoring in Forestry and they go out in the field to fight wildland fires.  The student he is inviting was deployed during the recent major fires.

We will also be preparing to honor law enforcement at the May meeting, as we do every year.  May is Law Enforcement Month, and we have traditionally honored someone as Officer or Law Enforcement Employee of the Year.  This year we will change our focus to honor a Department, rather than a specific employee.


Ron 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


Adjutant’s Corner

Last month I addressed the matter of dues, both National and our local chapter. We are starting a new year and this is a good time to put this matter to rest. When you come to our January meeting (and I really hope you will!) be ready to give Bonnie our treasurer the $15 chapter dues for the year! Even if you are Perpetual member, you may want to consider tossing a little something her way “for the good of the order.” To those who may not come to the meeting, you may find a reminder in your mailbox!

I hope your holiday season has been a joyful one! Regardless of your political feelings, the country seems to be adjusting to a new administration with the markets reflecting strong growth, the unemployment numbers are down, and the illegal immigration numbers are also lower. There are a number of other indicators for us all to be proud of our country. Accordingly, this might be a good time for you to come forward and offer your time and talents for any of the many services our chapter provides for our local citizenry. I will be specifically identifying these in future comments. 





SGT AT ARMS: remarks from MAJ James Murphy:



I know some will be bothered or upset about what I am writing, but these numbers have been verified more than once and are the latest figures available as of this writing. Certain elected representatives are continuing to demand stricter gun control laws. We need to take a closer look at the matter. (For the record, I cannot justify anyone other than a licensed collector possessing a military style automatic or semi-automatic weapon.)

There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms in this country and this number is not disputed. As of June 22, 2016 the U.S. population was 345,059,091. (I don’t think this includes illegal or otherwise undocumented).

To those of you so inclined, do the math:  0.000925 % of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What we never hear however, is how these numbers break out. Let’s take a closer look at how they relate:

*65% of these deaths (19,500) are by suicide, which would never be prevented by gun laws.
*15% (4,500) are by law enforcement in the line of duty and legally justified. (I know, I know!)
*17% (5,100) are from criminal activity, gang and drug related, or by mentally ill persons –these are better known as “gun violence.”
*3% (900) are identified as accidental discharge deaths.

So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but really drops to 5,100. Is this still too many? Let’s now look at how those deaths have occurred across the country.
*480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago. Keep in mind what political party controls the city.
*344 killings (6.7%) were in Baltimore. Again, who’s in charge?
*333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit. Ditto the above.
*119 murders (2.3%) were in Washington D. C. Again, who’s in charge of our nation’s capital?

We can do the math and see that about 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities. All 4 of these cities have very strict gun control laws, so it’s not a lack of law that is the root cause of so-called “gun violence.” This leaves 3,825 killings for the rest of the country, or about 75 deaths per state. However this is an average because some states had more than others (California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1.)
We know these 4 cities have very strict gun laws. California has the strictest gun laws of any state. You have heard the comment that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. So are guns causing the problem? It seems evident that the crime rate is spawned by the number of criminals living in these cities and states. We know that not all cities and states are not created equal, so there must be something other than the tool (the gun) causing the gun deaths.

I think any rational person would agree that 5,100 deaths is horrific. But let’s compare to other causes of death.  Any death caused by violence is tragic and especially so when it is in the commission of a crime. But that’s the nature of violent crime. Technically if a person has never been convicted of a crime, that person isn’t legally a criminal. On the other hand robbery, murder (taking of another person’s life), rape, assault, and some other offenses, are all done by criminals. Common sense tells us that criminals have little or no regard for the law and they have no intent to obey laws. This is why, convictions or not, they’re called criminals.
Now let’s look at the other causes of death in our country.

*40,000+ die from drug overdoses—how can we excuse this! We are now reading about this matter specifically as opiates, and hopefully our elected and non-elected officials are beginning to sit up and take notice. This is not an easy issue, so these numbers are inclusive of medically prescribed as well as other drug overdosing.

*36,000 die each year from influenza (flu), in spite of vaccines, a number far exceeding criminal gun murders.
*34,000 people die each year in traffic accidents. (This number has continued to drop from a high of more than 50,000 a decade ago, mostly due to improved automobile safety features.) Again, a number exceeding gun deaths including suicides.

Now the story gets better:
*200,000+ people die each year – and the number seems to be growing – from preventable medical errors! You are probably safer walking in the worst area of Chicago than going to a hospital! A 10% reduction in medical errors would be about 66% of the total number of gun deaths, or 4 times the number of criminal homicides. . . . Simple, easily preventable 10% reductions! So ask yourself: In the grand scheme of things, why are we so focused on guns?

*710,000 people die from heart related disease. Maybe a closer look at double cheeseburgers? My point is this: The liberal leftists and the anti-gun folks focused their attention on heart disease matters; even a 10% decrease in related cardiac deaths would save twice as many lives annually as all the gun related deaths from all causes.

It’s pretty simple:

Taking away guns gives control to our government (all levels). Our Founding Fathers knew this so regardless of the form of government, those in power tend to become corrupt and seek to run, just as the British did by trying to disarm the colonies. A disarmed population is a controlled population.

So the Second Amendment was proudly and boldly included in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.  The next time someone tries to tell you that gun control is about saving lives, you may want to cite some of the above numbers to that person. Noah Webster said: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed.”





Chaplains Corner

The below 12 short stories are in lieu of a more somber religious message.  I think each has a moral to tell, and I hope you agree! (While I use the first person, I’m really citing another person.)

  1. Today I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research project I’m working on for my psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”
  2. Today I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70s – what his top 2 tips for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”
  3. Today, after my 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go and with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center.”
  4. Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.
  5. Today at 7 AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3 PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, and we chatted. He then offered me a job. I start tomorrow.
  6. Today, as my father, three brothers and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said “I feel ;so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.”
  7. Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.
  8. Today, in the cutest voice, my 8 year old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?”  She replied, “So you can help save the planet.”  I chuckled again and asked, “Any why do you want to save the planet?” “Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said.
  9. Today, when I witnessed a 27 year old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2 year old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.
  10. Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving, he said, “I hope you feel better soon.”
  11. Today, I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an email that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.” It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in ten years.
  12. Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.”

MAJ Jim Murphy





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