Alexander Trybulski World War II Hero
A Pillar of Support For Those Who Served
Veteran Owned Business Sleeping Bear Motor Sports
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
issued the first â€œVeterans Dayâ€? Proclamation
TABLE OF CONTENTS 08 November/December 2020
06 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 08 VA Update - Financial Assistance
09 Unlock the Power of Habits to Transform 10 Alexander Trybulski 16 Birth of Marines 18 John Wemlinger’s twisted path out of the military 22 HISTORY AND MEANING OF VETERANS DAY
24 Birth of the National Guard 26 PTSD in Persian Gulf, Iraq & Afghanistan 28 Sleeping Bear Motorsports 30 Debra Ankerson 34 Was the War Worth the Cost? 36 Deer, Dad, and Opening Day
38 You Don’t Have to be a Veteran to Help Veterans 40 Pearl Harbor Attack
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
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GATHER Veterans – 5
6 â€“ GATHER Veterans
s I sit here preparing this issue, Michigan is beginning to take on its Autumn wardrobe. The trees are draped with warm Fall colors of red, orange, and gold. Although I love Summer and the long warm days at the beach, Fall is my favorite time of the year. To look out on the rolling hills and see the breathtaking color is to sit and gaze upon the works of the Master Artist’s hands. I am always awed. Another Fall favorite, heading off to Jacob’s Corn Maze or Friske’s Farm Market on the weekend and being greeted with the crisp, cool air necessitating the wearing of my favorite hoodie sweatshirt. With the delectable smell of fresh donuts and apple cider overwhelming me as we drive up to the farm store, I decide I live in the most amazing place on earth - at least until January. Finally, a trip to a local orchard to pick apples is a fun family Autumn tradition! There is nothing like trekking down the isles of fruit-laden trees, seeking the perfect delicious apples to take home. Some never make their intended destination as these apples are reminiscent of the original “forbidden fruit” with their temptation to eat them! I love to hear the snap of that first bite as I sink my teeth into the yummy flesh and enjoy the sweet juices as they drip down my chin and hand.
Awe, Northern Michigan in the Fall! It’s the best! Of course, another mile-marker along the seasonal road is Thanksgiving! Time with family, traditional comfort food, and if you are a fan, football! This Thanksgiving, I know one thing I will be very grateful for, YOU. This year more than ever, I have reflected on the freedoms I enjoy and how I don’t particularly appreciate having my freedoms taken away. It has caused me to reflect on how truly grateful I am for the sacrifices men and women have made for me to enjoy these precious freedoms! So, this Thanksgiving, I hope this issue finds you happy, healthy, and aware that there are MANY of us out here who are so very thankful for what you have sacrificed so WE could have and enjoy what we have. I hope that GATHER Veterans magazine continues to be a resource you can look to for encouragement, inspiration, education, and resources to help in your times of need. Happy Veterans Day. Happy Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas. Until January 2021. God bless you, and may God bless America during this time of such uncertainty. Hannah Bouwmeester Publisher
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Happy Veterans Day! By Michael Roof
Director, Dept. of Veteran Affairs, Grand Traverse County
To all my fellow veterans, thank you. Thank you for raising your hand to commit to serving your country in whatever capacity required of you. Most of the time, veterans leave their time in service with a desire to give their time and energy to serving other people. This monthâ€™s issue contains stories of extraordinary people that want just to keep helping! Financial Assistance Sometimes people experience financial hardship and need help. Just because someone is a veteran, it doesnâ€™t make us immune to this issue. In 2019, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) worked with legislators to pass the Community Veterans Service Fund grant statute that provides each county with a $50,000 base grant and additional funds based on the veterans per capita.
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Counties that apply can use the funding for anything to further assist or reach out to veterans. Some counties have used the budget for things like hiring more staff, purchase transportation for veterans, expand technology in their office, offer new services, Meijer grocery vouchers, and expand financial assistance dollars for veterans in need. These are just a few examples. With that said, the MVAA CVSF is not the only funding mechanism in assisting veterans experiencing a financial crisis. The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) is available for wartime veterans experiencing an unforeseen emergent situation. The MVTF fund is currently over $61 million and is used solely for assisting veterans. The MVTF has assisted with larger emergencies like roof repair, car repairs, dental work, furnace replacement, etc.
Most local county Department of Veterans Affairs have their own funding to assist veterans with emergencies. Usually, county funding is set aside for smaller emergencies like a utility bill, propane, rent, gas card, work boots, etc. All these funding sources have an application process that could consider income, expenses and household members. If you or a veteran you know needs assistance, please have them check with their county office for further details. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. If you are alone this holiday season, please reach out to your fellow brothers and sister in arms for the community and connection we all need! If you know of a veteran living alone, please, call, visit or just drop them a quick note to let them know you care.
Coffee Table Coach Unlock the Power of Habits to Transform By Hannah Bouwmeester
abits are created within a scientific pattern as it involves work in different parts of the brain. So, if you’re looking for powerful ways to change your habits, you need to understand how the brain works to begin the transformation process. Charles Duhigg, in his book the Power of Habit, explains how habits work in our minds. He mentions a “habit loop” – by being aware and in control of the habit loop, we can take control of our habits.
Our Brain’s Connection with Habits In 1990, researchers at MIT had the idea that the basil ganglia has something to do with the formation of our habits. This is located at the base of the forebrain.
This idea was followed by an experiment on mice with their brains wired to see the activity during the maze running task. This experiment showed that mice first worked with their cerebral cortex then later, the information sequence on running went to the basal ganglia, stored as a habit. This habit was activated when the mice heard the clicking sound. It worked as a cue for habit activation. The scientists applied the same discovery on the human’s mind
to uncover how habits are formed and activated.
The Habit Loop
The habit loop is like a software – it works systematically. It has three parts - the cue, routine, and reward. Going through these three, again and again, will make it work as an automatic muscle memory. Cue: According to Duhigg, it’s a trigger notifying the brain to go into an automatic response. Routine: It is an activity followed by the cue. Reward: It can be anything. For instance, the reward after a good exercise routine is feeling great and healthy. Rebooting the Habit Loop The golden role of rebooting is to keep the cue and reward and change the habit. You can’t erase bad habits. On the contrary, you can make good habits overpower them. Charles Duhigg suggests a step-bystep guide to reboot the habit loop. • Firstly, highlight what you want to change. It can be anything from a caffeine habit to excessively playing video games. • Second, experiment with the rewards. Go deep into finding what you’re really after when
you’re craving a juicy burger or an alcoholic drink. Look for a different reward that can satisfy those cravings but in a more positive way. • Thirdly, identify the things that put the cravings in action. These cues can be based upon time, location, emotional state, and other people. • Once you have the cue and reward identified, devise a plan to change your routine. • Believe in the fact that you can change. It is monumental in bringing up the desired change. In-depth knowledge of the habit loop can make the transition from bad habits to good habits easier.
Challenging the Man/ Woman in You
You have read about the habit loop. Now, pick up a habit that you want to change and document the process. I would love to hear about your journey and your results. Lastly, pick up the Power of Habit and start reading. You’ll thank me once you’ll read it.
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World War II Hero A Selection of War Stories from Alex’s Journals.
lex Trybulski, age 103, is a decorated war veteran from Saginaw, MI, who fought in World War II, along with 16.1 million other members of the American Armed Forces who were drafted or volunteered to fight. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, as of Memorial Day, 2020, approximately 300,000 WWII veterans were still alive in the USA. Each has a memory of the war, a tale of bloody fighting, death, and heroism.
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Alex Trybulski - holding his great, great granddaughter.
Alex Trybulski is one of those WWII Veterans. These are some of his memories from the war. “I was 25 years old when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and I knew right away that it was a ‘Goodbye Joe’ moment,” says Alex. “Goodbye Joe” is a favorite phrase he uses to describe situations up the road that looked dangerous. He didn’t know it yet, but there would be many “Goodbye Joe” moments in the next four years. Service Medals and Awards Alex received ten medals, including a purple heart, and the Infantry Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism. (The 96th Infantry Division - The ‘Deadeyes’ - was one of only four US divisions in
military history to have earned the Presidential Citation, customarily given to battalionsize units). Alex also received the “Combat Infantry” medal years later. He treasures that one the most because it shows he was actually IN combat. Draft and Training Alex was drafted in April 1944 and left for basic training in Louisiana’s swamps with scorpions, tarantulas, spiders, and coral snakes. After basic training, he was shipped to California, assigned to the 125th Infantry in Griffith Park (where tents were set up amid the swimming pools and tennis courts between Hollywood and
Los Angeles). During his stay, a Japanese submarine came perilously close to and fired on the California coast just north of Hollywood. Alex and his fellow infantrymen were assigned to guard an antitank gun on the coast at Pebble Beach between two well-known golf holes, the 7th, and the 8th. He transferred to the 96th Division after about a year. The 96th Division and More Training The 96th Division received extra training in Medford, Oregon and word came that they were about to be shipped out. But first, Alex and his fellow infantrymen
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practiced landing on the shores of San Diego, working with the landing craft nets for about a week. Then they were off to Hawaii. Once there, they practiced jungle training for six weeks. They would prow through the jungles at nights, practicing with a different variety of guns. Their division was assigned to General Douglas MacArthur. World War II Memories by Alex “We prepared for the invasion of the Philippine Islands. I knew this was a ‘Goodbye Joe’ moment for sure. But we were lucky,” Alex said. “We were able to get in the landing area quite fast. We ran into swampland and rice paddies and realized this was the reason it was so lightly defended.” Their platoon was sent later to an airfield. One morning, Alex
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and his buddy were standing by a runway and saw aircraft approaching. To them, it looked like ten of their planes were approaching the land. But as they came closer, they realized they were Japanese planes. “They were so close that we could see the big red ball on the planes’ sides, and their pilots were strafing and bombing as they came over. We jumped behind what looked like cordwood covered with a tarp. My buddy asked if I knew what it was, but I didn’t. It turned out to be a pile of 57 mm ammo for anti-tank gun… one scary moment. It would have been a ‘Goodbye Joe’ for sure if any of the bombs or strafing had struck it.” After several other ‘Goodbye Joe’ moments, they were on the island with nobody. Neither the Japanese nor Americans were
coming in or going out. Meals were going to be a problem. And boy they were. Alex joked, “We ate nothing but SPAM three times a day for a whole month - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But we had cigarettes!” Nearly 80 years later, he can smile as he tells this story. “We got most of our cigarettes from the Filipinos. Earlier, we had been giving them the cigarettes we had on us to be friendly. Now they were selling them to us for $1 a pack!” “Later, we were called to assist our front-line troops fighting off the Japanese in a Banzai attack, which meant about 100 or more Japanese infantry, armed with rifles and bayonets, charged as one. Luckily it didn’t happen, and nobody got hurt... until later that night.”
Alex and two other GIs were on patrol and came face to face with an enemy soldier sitting against a tree who lunged toward them. After one shot, the enemy fell down. There was a loud explosion from a land mine underneath the enemy soldier as he landed. “That was when I was hit with shrapnel in my knee. It was a clean cut. I didn’t even feel it until it started to bleed, Alex stated. “I was treated at a field hospital, and it healed well. Then I was back to the battle.” Later on, they found out that the Japanese soldier was a part of a group of Japanese marine paratroops who had landed in the same field. They killed the Americans as they slept in their tents, then rolled barrels of gasoline under the planes and set them afire. A Selection of Alex’s Memories (in his words) from the Okinawa, Japan Campaign “On April 1, 1945, Easter Sunday, my buddy and I held the landing net from a small landing craft when a massive water wave moved us. We were lucky that landing craft moved us from the ship we were in, or we would have lost 3-4 of my squad before ever touching land! When we landed, we ran head-on into small firearms, machine guns, and mortar fire.” “My squad and I were then sent to guard an observation post. As I had my men spread out, a shot rang out, and one of my men right next to me was hit. Unfortunately, he was accidentally shot by one of our men behind us. I took him to an aid station where he said he was hit in the shoulder. Fortunately, a shot in the arm, leg, or shoulder was called a “million-dollar wound” by the GIs as they usually get sent back to the States.” “Later, after working our way toward high ground across the island, it had a lot of flat ground in front of it, we were stopped dead in our tracks. The Navy shelled the high ground all week. The Navy planes dropped firebombs, and enemy planes dropped bombs, our division artillery shelled the high ground. But when we started to attack, we were stopped cold again. We waited a few days and made a midnight assault across the island and finally got a foothold on the high ground.”
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“We were again digging in for the night when six planes started firing at our men on our left. We could see they were our planes, and they were circling back at us to shoot. We opened our “smoke-colored bombs,” which we carry to show we are friendly troops. We stood there waving. As they were ready to shoot, they finally saw who we were and flapped their wings to let us know. The lead plane came right over me, which was kind of scary.” “I had a litter (a rescue basket for the wounded) and medic team on the front line when a solider got hit. They patched up his back and gave him a Morphine shot. As we started to carry him down a hill, a Japanese soldier with an automatic rifle shot at us, so we had to jump back. I asked the wounded soldier if he could hang on, and he said yes. So
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we started running, with the enemy shooting down the hill. We got in a ditch at the bottom of the hill, and the firing finally stopped.” “We took a little rest and started to go up a steep bank that was going over a road. The firing started again, so we had to turn back. It was getting dark, so I knew we could not stay there. I also knew if we went up over the road, we were “dead ducks.” I looked around and saw a creek that went under the road, so I told my team to go that way. We made a run for the creek under the road and made it to the field hospital before dark. It was a standing rule in our division that anything that moved after dark was fired at.” “As we worked our way to the high ground of the island, I could see our American ships in the bay, and it looked like there were a million of them! I could see ships all afire, burning, smoking, and firing at the Japanese planes. The Japanese had fighter bombers and Kamikaze planes all over the place. The Kamikaze was a “hero” pilot trained to fly a plane off the ground and follow the fighters to the targets with an aircraft that had a massive bomb to dive into our large ships. They had orders to bomb our large ships, cruisers, aircraft
carriers, or a battlewagon. The Kamikaze planes came in a wave of 50 to 100 planes at a time. We finally made our way to the island’s southern tip, where the Japanese finally gave up.” A Selection of Alex’s Memories (in his words) from the Philippines “After the Okinawa Campaign, our division went back to the Philippines to receive new equipment and get replacements for we had 7,000 causalities and 1,500 killed. We were scheduled to invade the homeland of Japan. After we were back in the Philippines, my company’s 57mm guns were replaced by 76mm tank destroyers. They were like a tank, but light and fast. We were able to fire more accurately when moving. I was in charge of the one which we had to train with.” “After the “A-bombs” were dropped, the war ended shortly after. The high point men of our division and I were sent to meet with another division to be sent home early, but we were shipped to another island in the Philippines for more training when the war ended. We were stuck there for several months with nothing to do but play cards. If you were wondering what we played, it was the trick-taking game of pinochle repeatedly. I was FINALLY shipped home November 27, 1945, six months AFTER the war ended. I was “Honorably Discharged” on Christmas Eve, 1945.”
Returning Home Alex Trybulski was in the service for more than five years and returned home a 31-year-old bachelor. “I was supposed to be one of the first one’s home; instead, we were stuck in Mindanao, an island in the Philippines,” Alex stated. “On my homecoming, you would have thought there had never been a World War. I missed out on the cheers, the parades, the welcome home parades or parties. The war had been over for six months; nobody in town was wearing uniforms. Men were returning to jobs, getting married, buying homes, waiting to buy new cars, having children. I wore my uniform downtown twice and got curious stares. All the others had packed their uniforms away. It was a new world.” Life seemed to move on. Alex went back to his old job at Saginaw Industries (Plating), and he met his beautiful and
fun-loving wife and nurse, Susan Bundshuh. They were married in 1955 and married 55 years. She passed away in 2010. They had four daughters that turned into ten grandchildren, 19 greatgrandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren. “After the war, I fell right back into a routine, like everyone else. Serving the army gave me a strong work ethic, a daily routine to follow (like morning sit-ups and pushups), and a chance to devote my life to my wife and daughters. I even showed my grandkids how to fish, play cards, and appreciate a good polka. During training and the war, I met some lifelong friends. The army reunions were something I ALWAYS looked forward to; we shared life stories on the battlefield and off, sometimes with a drink in our hands. It was a brotherhood of friends and comrades I will never forget. It was an honor to serve our country.” -Alex Trybulski
It is our honor to share some WWII memories from a 103-year-old Veteran. We at GATHER VETERANS thank you, Sir, for your service to our country.
p l e H r i a p e R e Hom p i h s r e n w o e m ans Ho forVeter tGTR.org a it b a H 3 6 6 231-941-4
Local Habitarts Partne
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Birth of Marines
How was it Formed?
By Gaurav Roy
ovember 10, 1775, will go down as the day one of the most iconic landing forces in the world was born. It all started with the American Revolution!
serve as landing forces in the Continental Navy, which was formed recently. This resolution was passed by none other than John Adams, the future President of the United States.
A resolution was passed to raise two battalions of Marines to
The city of Philadelphia holds the honor of being the city
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where John Adams adopted the resolution to raise two battalions of Marines. Hence, November 10 is observed as the official birth date of the United States Marine Corps. However, the Marine Corps was founded twice, technically.
1775 - The Initial Founding Year
As discussed above, the Continental Congress decided to raise a twobattalion of men with adequate knowledge of the sea. These two battalions were to participate in ship-to-ship combat in the Continental Navy and serve as landing forces. The initial plans were to pull men from the Continental Army under General George Washington. These men were meant to work as an Infantry unit aboard the ships while working with the Navy. Their mission was to keep the ship and its crew safe. The Continental Congress had envisioned that the Navy infantry unit serving aboard the ships would take offensive and defensive measures while undertaking aggressive boarding maneuvers. They were also meant to prevent mutiny by the officers aboard the vessel and maintain peace onboard. General George Washington didn’t agree to any of his troops leaving his troops. Hence, the Continental Army had to establish recruiting posts in New York and Philadelphia. The American Revolution officially ended in 1783. With the end of the American Revolution, there was no need for the Marines then. Hence, under the treaty of Paris, the Continental Marines Force was dissolved.
1798 - The Second Founding of The Marines The Marine Corps Force was reestablished fifteen years after it was first disbanded. It was reestablished by John Adams, the then President of the United States. You can call this moment as the beginning of the modern-day Marine Corps of the United States. The United States Congress, which itself was newly formed, established the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Within the next few months, the bill that led to the Marine Corps’ re-establishment as a standalone branch of the military was ratified. President Adams himself led the ratification. After the ratification, the Marine Corps was now under the United States Navy’s administration. The iconic United States Marine Corps has been a part of all wars that the United States took part in. It was often the first branch called upon by the United States government to join the fight.
Tun Tavern - The Place Where the Marine Corps was Founded! It was in Philadelphia’s inns and taverns where many of the American Revolution’s critical political discussions took place. One of the significant locations among them was the Tun Tavern, which is the Marines’ birthplace.
A Continental Congress committee met at Tun Tavern. There they drafted a resolution to raise two battalions of Marines. The Marines were to fight both on the shore and at sea for independence. The Continental Marines was finally formed on November 10, 1775, with the approval of the resolution. The first Commandant of Continental Marines was Samuel Nicholas and Robert Mullan, a popular patriot, became the first captain and recruiter of the Continental Marines. The interesting thing about this is that Robert Mullan was also the owner of Tun Tavern. They both began working on gathering support, and by early 1776, they were ready for action.
The Modern-Day Marines The United States Marine Corps has stayed true to its roots and hasn’t changed much during its 244-year history. Their uniform, too, has remained the same barring a few tweaks here and there. That is why the U.S. Marine Corps’ uniform is the most recognizable military uniform in the country. The United Marine Corps is an essential part of the country’s crisis response unit for more than two centuries. Therefore, Congress found it necessary to create the Marines twice. We salute the United States Marine Corps and the men and women who have served in this prestigious branch of our outstanding military services. Semper Fi
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From Colonel – to Disillusioned – to Writer
twisted path out of the military By Mike Kent
The journey out of the military and into civilian life can be a tortured trail. That thorny path can be true for rank-and-file soldiers as well as military commanders. For northern Michigan veteran John Wemlinger, he traveled that trail for 17-years, until he finally found peace and a calling between the pages of the books he was writing.
emlinger has just published his fourth book, “The Widow and the Warrior.” He writes about what he knows: military life. But in the process he created a twist on a new genre that he calls military romance. Don’t mistake his fiction as frivolous. Each of his books tackles serious subjects including veteran suicide, post-traumatic stress disorders, vagaries of military justice and the most recent writing addresses vigilante justice. Wemlinger was a senior Army aviator with 800 combat hours flying choppers in Vietnam. He rose through the military ranks, was in command of thousands of people and relished every moment of his military service. He retired at the rank of colonel. It was after that service where he had trouble adapting. “It took five or six years for me to accept that the profit motive was as powerful as it was,” says Wemlinger. “It was hard for me.” He says when his military career
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was getting ready to end he didn’t give a lot of thought to what happens next. “I thought I had my skills and leadership and it would be easily transitioned into the civilian sector.” That transition did not come easily, and he admits that at times he became somewhat bitter. He fully understands why veterans have a tough time adapting. “Especially when you step into civilian life from a combat tour,” he says. “You come from a place where I have your back and you have mine. It’s a bond that is unbreakable. In civilian life that person may not have your back.”
The retired colonel is convinced the difficulty in transition plays a huge role in a higher than average suicide rate among veterans. He says there are four key issues faced by those leaving the military. 1) A loss of the sense of family felt during military service. 2) A guilt complex of leaving your brothers and sisters behind especially when they are lost in combat. 3) A sense of moral injury when you are taught in church not to kill, but killing is a critical component of combat. 4) Difficulty overcoming serious injuries either physical or psychological.
John Wemlinger’s military career spanned nearly 27 years in command and staff positions of ever-increasing responsibility. Nearly half of his career was overseas assignments in The Federal Republic of Germany, South Vietnam, Okinawa, Japan, Tokyo, Japan, and Honolulu, Hawaii. He has commanded at both the battalion- and brigade-level. His terminal assignment was as Deputy Director of Logistics, United States Transportation Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He retired at the rank of Colonel in 1995.
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John’s military awards and decorations include: The National Defense Service Medal with Gold Star; The Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC); The Army Meritorious Service Medal with 3 OLC’s; The Defense Meritorious Service Medal with OLC; The Bronze Star; The Legion of Merit; and The Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
A solution is readily available, Wemlinger believes. “We spend six to 12-weeks of basic training when a person enters the military,” Wemlinger says. “That is a transition into the military. We ought to give that same amount of time on the other end of their service.” His vision is formal classroom training when exiting the military that would include plenty of opportunity for discussion. “We ought to be preparing them better. We owe them that. I will go so far as to say if we were to do that, we would see the number of veteran suicides reduced. Not eliminated but reduced.”
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For Wemlinger, it took many years for him to find renewed passion after the military. It took many years to get to where he now feels confident as a writer. At the core of his writing is an appreciation of military service. “I want [my readers] to understand and appreciate the sacrifice that our veterans make for the benefit of our country.” He says that’s become especially important since 1973 when military service became voluntary. “Everyone is a volunteer. They raised their hands and took their oath without anyone forcing them to do so.” With that in mind, Wemlinger remains optimistic, “I knew that our country is in good hands.”
Following retirement from the service, John worked for Disney Entertainment Projects, Asia-Pacific, from 19971999, Based in Singapore he was the Director of Logistics for Disneyfest, which was, at the time, the world’s largest traveling show. Upon his return to the US, he began working in education. He was the Dean at Davenport University’s campuses in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1999 to 2002. From 2006 to 2009 he served as the Commandant of Cadets at The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, an alternative school for high school dropouts.
Be sure to watch for the second part of John’s story and more about his new book in the upcoming January/February issue!
Colonel Wemlinger is a Senior Army Aviator with 800 combat hours flown in Vietnam. He is a graduate of The Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, The US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and The Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. His civilian education includes a BS in Education from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; an MSc in Education from St. John’s University, New York City, New York; and a MA in National Security and Strategy from The Naval War College.
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HISTORY AND MEANING OF
VETERANS DAY By Kiersten Gunsberg
Edging in on the eastern border of Kansas, Emporia is a hub for all things midwest - there’s a zoo that houses raccoons and prairie dogs, cinnamon wafts over the weekend farmers market and a hornet named Corky stands as the mascot of the college town’s own Emporia State University.
mporia is also home to Alvin J. King, the mid-century shoe salesman who sparked the founding of Veterans Day. But first, to understand the meaningfulness of this national day of remembrance, go back to a cold-tothe-bone November 11th, 1918. On this morning, the combat of World War I ceased with a peace treaty signed by the Allies and Germany in a damp, riverside city in the north of France.
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A year later, President Woodrow Wilson’s administration named November 11th Armistice Day, and across the globe, countries remembered together. With parades and an overall buzzing of victory rising up through the loss, citizens of the world hoped it would be a day to commemorate the finale of what was to be “the war to end all wars” and the beginning of an international effort towards peace.
It was not. Just over a year after Armistice Day became a legal holiday in 1938, World War II broke through the last days of summer, 1939. Painful memories from the few short decades before played back, this time over radios where families gathered, clinging to the words of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Everyone carried the weight of fear that someone they loved would never return home. For Alvin J. King, this became true in 1944 when word came that John Cooper, a soldier in Rifle Company B of the 137th Infantry Regiment, had been killed in action serving the United States in Belgium. Some say John, a young twenty-something with a round, warm face and pointed cheekbones was Alvin’s beloved nephew while other sources call him his stepson, but one thing is known for sure, the loss of John pushed the weight of fear into a pulsing ache. It combed through Alvin when he got up in the morning, when he stood at the sink to fill a glass of water, when he put the glass back down, empty. He’d raised John, looked him in the eye, and told him how it was and how it should be and then one day, as for so many other people getting up and filling glasses of water during
World War II, someone he’d read bedtime stories to was now gone. The pulsing didn’t stop when World War II ended, six years and a day from the hour it started. Instead, it stretched thin across oceans, straight into the fifties and another war and collective mourning continued not just for Alvin, but for all those lives touched by the same bad news. As tensions from the Korean War simmered down following an armistice in the summer of 1953, Alvin proposed a day of remembrance and honor not just for those Americans who were lost during World War I, but for all Veterans, like his own John, who served the United States in all wars. So, with the support of his community, the shoe salesman from Kansas packed up his heartache and a headful of good memories of John and traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby his request. It was met kindly by President Eisenhower who established November 11th, 1954 as Americans first observed Veterans Day, as we now know it, to honor all who have served and those heroes like John who’ve sacrificed their lives defending the United States.
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Birth of the
National Guard By Gaurav Roy Birth of the National Guard
The birth of the National Guard is celebrated nationwide by the National Guard members on December 13 every year. The National Guard organizes balls, galas, and parties to celebrate its birthday. It is not a Federally-recognized holiday, but the importance of the day on which the National Guard was founded, cannot be understated.
The History of the United States National Guard
The first militia in the North American continent was created under the Massachusetts General Courtâ€™s order in Salem on December 13, 1636. During the time of their creation in 1636, their main aim was to defend the Massachusetts Bay. There were three regiments in the
Nearly 160 Soldiers, more than 60 vehicles and equipment laden with supplies were ready to support hurricane recovery operations less than 24 hours after notification. Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Spreitzer, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs
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Massachusetts Bay Colony. These were designated as the East, South, and North. The National Guard is older than the country itself. In Massachusetts, it still maintains its roots. The current regiments of the National Guard are the 101st Field Artillery, the 101st Engineer Battalion, the 181st Infantry Regiment, and the 182nd Regiment. With time, the United States was formed. As the country grew, the number of states increased. Each state established had its militia. Yet, the militia was never officially known as the National Guard until 1933. There were a few states that used to call their militia as the National Guard even before 1933. But most of the individual states had various titles for their militia.
National Guard personnel march in formation on Staten Island in New York. Photo credit: KATHY WILLENS / AP
The Way of Life
Two well-known examples of this are the Indiana Legion and the Mississippi State Guard. As per the order, “all able-bodied men from 16 to 60 years old will join the standing army.” That order was the seed that grew to become today’s National Guard of the United States. The idea behind this was that the army of citizen-soldiers could be immediately assembled at a time of need.
The National Guard service is not a full-time role. Yet, it requires dedication, commitment, and sacrifice from its members. The brave men and women of the National Guard take their duties as a part of their lives. The Army and Air National Guards’ men and women train every two days a month, followed by long training scheduled on an annual basis. A regular training schedule ensures that the National Guard is ready at the time of need. Thus, they can join the US military’s active-duty forces overseas quickly. Even today, the National Guard stands proudly in the nation’s service like it did in 1636.
The Present National Guard of the United States The Air National Guard was established after World War II by the newly formed United States Airforce. Currently, there are around 350,000 men and women serving in the Air National Guard and National Guard. It is approximately 39% of the operational force of the army. Today, the National Guard is ready to answer the call from the nation and the states. The United States government even deploys them overseas if required. They also respond to help in natural disasters to assist neighbors and friends.
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President Bush greets Soldiers
U.S. Special Forces
Photo Credit: defense.gov
Photo Credit: reddit
PTSD in Persian Gulf, Iraq & Afghanistan By Gaurav Roy The rates of war-zone inflicted PTSD have steadily risen since the American Civil War. All wars have brought tremendous impact on the lives of the soldiers involved in it regardless of whichever war or conflict you look into. Posttraumatic stress disorder has been one of the most notorious culprits to affect our soldiers in all wars that the United States has taken part in. Is Length of War Directly ∝ Psychological Impact of the War? Persian Gulf War was a shortlived war compared to the other wars that the United States have taken part in. However, its psychological impact was just as severe as other wars in terms of inflicting trauma on the soldiers involved in the war.
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There has been a rise in the reported number of physical and mental problems among the veterans after the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 till now. The results of mental health impact studies of the Persian Gulf War are mixed as some of these reports indicate that the rates of PTSD caused by
the Gulf War are in the range of 3%-12% and this is lower than the other wars. On the other hand, some reports have found that the rate of PTSD has been higher among the veterans who were deployed in the Gulf War. The Iraq War ≠ The Afghanistan War Researchers often combine
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman HM1 Richard Barnett, assigned to the 1st Marine Division, holds an Iraqi child in central Iraq on March 29, 2003 Photo Credit: businessinsider.com, REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. Marines from Task Force Tarawa carry a wounded Marine during a gun battle on March 23, 2003, in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. The Marines suffered a number of deaths and casualties during gun battles throughout the city. Photo Credit: JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
Photo: Scott Nelson/Getty Images
A file photo of US soldiers in Afghanistan | Commons
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in their study of psychological trauma caused during the recent wars. They group the veterans from both of these wars into the same depression and suicide statistics. However, it has been found that the soldiers returning from the Iraq War have higher levels of PTSD as they are far more likely to be exposed to greater levels of stressors during the Iraq War. Unique Problems! The problems faced by the vets of Iraq and Afghanistan wars are unique compared to those of the earlier wars. Both of these wars brought longer stints for the soldiers in the battleground along with shorter rest periods. It increased the risk of psychological trauma among the soldiers involved in these wars. The study conducted in 2018 by the Rand Corporation
reported that since 9/11, 2.77 million U.S. troops took part in 5.4 million deployments. The U.S. troops don’t fight the enemy soldiers wearing uniforms in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They face terrorists in these wars who use unconventional tactics of suicide bombing and initiate deadly blasts through improvised explosive devices. Both of these wars have the lowest rates of death ever recorded in any of the wars that the United States was involved in. However, the rates of PTSD and psychological trauma have grown to a level that have been never seen before in any of the wars. PTSD in The Iraq War vs PTSD in The Afghanistan War In 2004, a study was carried out to find out which among the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were more likely
to expose the involved soldiers in live combat scenarios. The study concluded that the soldiers who were serving in the Iraq War were far more likely to have exposure to combat compared to that of the Afghanistan War. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs has reported that 13-20% of veterans who served in Iraq are suffering from PTSD. On the other hand, the rate of PTSD was found to be 11% among the Afghanistan War veterans. It is to be noted that the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are still ongoing and that’s why the full psychological impact of these wars is still not fully studied. Once these wars end, we can expect a clear picture depicting the true impact of both Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the psychological profile of the involved soldiers.
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Sleeping Bear Motorsports Are you ready to ride?
Then Sleeping Bear Motorsports in Interlochen has exactly what you need to escape the indoors and break free for an adventure. This family-friendly business offers everything to help turn your spark of desire into a full-fledged fire, including motorcycles, ATV’s, and Side by Sides. Owned and operated by veteran Eric Fischer and his passionate team, this motorsports store promotes outside fun along with support for the veteran community.
ric started riding motorcycles in the 1960’s and turned his love for the sport into a vocation in the early 1990’s, but his first adventure was in the military. Originally, Eric was interested in joining the Michigan State Police. When he was considered too young, he instead joined the US Army in January of 1974. Eric ended up signing on for three years instead of two in order to guarantee his MOS of choice,
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By Amanda Renkiewicz 95B Military Police, as well as his preferred duty assignment, Fort Meade, Maryland. “I was made platoon leader, and upon completion of my training I went for my first duty assignment. Fort Meade was an “Open Post” at that time, even though it contained the NSA building! The MP unit there was a “Combat” MP unit, so we pulled duty as on road patrol MP’s as well as being trained for combat MP duties, including “Field” training! Oh Boy!” he recalls.
Eric soon discovered that he was incredibly gifted at shooting. He qualified as an “Expert” with both the M-16 and .45 Pistol (“As well as the hand grenade, but I’m glad I never had to use that one!” he adds with a laugh). While at Fort Meade, their units had a shooting competition among platoons, and as the best shot, he was able to attend a special training school run by FBI sharpshooters. “Now THOSE people can shoot!” says Eric. “What an experience watching groupings of 4 inches
At Sleeping Bear Motorsports, there’s a camaraderie where they make you feel at home. And there’s a 100% commitment to veterans!” John Lefler, President of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition and a client since opening day
at 1000 meters…you can’t even see something like that with the naked eye, and before somebody out there thinks, “Oh that’s no big deal”, remember now that we are talking about the year 1975! Guns, bullets, and optics have come a long way since then,” he explains. In September of 1976, Eric received orders to go abroad. He was supposed to be stationed in Frankfurt, Germany for 13 months, but enjoyed his duty assignment so much that when he was offered the opportunity to attend MPI school, he extended his enlistment – twice! “Since my last name is spelled with a “c”, the German customs people were very happy to show me what I was “missing” as an American in the “Homeland”. I was also blessed with the birth of my daughter there,” Eric smiles. His military career ended in 1980 and he returned to the USA to explore new roads. Eric has been a motorcycle enthusiast since the ripe old age of ten. “I started riding motorized two wheeled machines, and now
have over 5 decades of seat time behind me, pun intended,” he laughs. He was able to turn his love of the machines into a small business in 2012 after working at a local motorcycle shop. While people were purchasing and accessorizing their bikes, they often asked Eric if he could help sell some of the items they were replacing. It became a lucrative business model as Eric opened a brick and mortar shop and began selling items and machines on consignment. “It went way past any expectation I ever dreamed of,” he says of the business’s success. “We now have six full time people here, half of whom are US Army Veterans!” When COVID hit in March and transformed normal life, Sleeping Bear Motorsports was able to remain active as an essential business of the transportation industry. They stayed open, but with lots of modifications to how they did business, with curbside pick-up, social distancing, and constant sanitizing both of products and personnel. “During the lockdown, everyone stayed home...and got very bored,” Eric
recalls. “Then they were told they could, and should, go outside. Part of our business is selling and servicing ATV’s and Side by Sides. Sales went through the roof!” Both child and adult items were selling out as manufacturers of all kinds of outdoor recreational equipment ran out of product. “We were one of the lucky businesses because we sold things like that,” Eric concludes. Sleeping Bear Motorsports is veteran run and deeply tied to the military community. They support local area veteran groups and their fundraising events, and offer a discount on any aftermarket new part or accessory to all Active Duty Military or Military Veteran. In the last year, they provided over $35,000 in discounts to their military related customers. The joy of the open road and the love of country is ingrained in their business. Eric describes his passion by stating, “There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand”. There are no truer words to describe the feeling we get when we ride.”
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A Pillar of Support For Those Who Serve Written By Karen Rieser
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assion, defined as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something, describes Debra Ankerson’s relationship with our nation’s Armed Forces. For the last ten years, Debra has served our country stateside as a volunteer under a plethora of titles supporting U.S. veterans and troops. Debra’s journey weaves a tale of commitment, loyalty, honor, and sincerity. Debra’s respect for our men in uniform was instilled in her by her father. During her freshman year of high school, the Vietnam War was still going strong. As with many young people, Debra wore bracelets with the names and rank of boots on the ground soldiers as a daily reminder of U.S. troops in harm’s way. She remembers faithfully sitting with her father in front of the television reading each name of the soldiers killed in action that day as they scrolled up the TV screen. These daily readings entrenched in Debra the realization of the tremendous sacrifice these men were making for the country in which she lived.
Civilian service with the Armed Forces began with Debra’s appointment to chair the Veterans’ Programs Committee through the Elks Club. As chair, she was responsible for finding and vetting veterans organizations deserving of financial or moral support. One of the many events Debra created was a Coast Guard Christmas celebration. Each Traverse City Coast Guard family received a ham or turkey for Christmas dinner. Debra was then asked to be the liaison to Operation Homefront, a large national organization that asks local families to buy toys for military families. At the next Christmas events, the families received not only Christmas dinner baskets but toys for the children. After three years with the Coast Guard, Debra moved the event to Northwestern Michigan College, supporting 242 combat veterans and their families. Later the event was moved to Camp Grayling and then back to the Coast Guard for two years.
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involved the death of a loved one; however, some joyous events, such as a child’s birth, would occur. If a troop was given permission to return home, Debra would make arrangements for financial aid (if necessary), transportation, lodging, and family time. Little did Debra know this position would lead her to be involved with a myriad of support services enriching her passion for serving.
It was not long before Debra’s talents were again recognized. She was asked to be a caseworker for deployed troops with the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces. As a Red Cross caseworker, Debra’s job was to take care of the deployed soldier’s family stateside. Upon receiving word that there was an emergency in a troop’s family, Debra would verify the report and contact the Commanding Officer. The Officer would then decide on the action to be taken. Most emergencies
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There is not enough space to discuss each program Debra was involved in, so a list will have to suffice. She began as the Elks NW District Veterans Chair, through which she became a Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition member. Then she was asked to spearhead the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces as a caseworker for deployed troops. Next, she was appointed liaison to Operation Homefront. Also, Debra sat on the Northern Michigan for Veterans Board. She became the Department of Defense lead volunteer at the VA hospital at Iron Mountain. Debra also served on the Traverse City Patriot Game Board, chaperoned two Honor Flights to Washington D.C., and worked as the American Red Cross liaison to Gold Star Mothers. Of all the volunteer positions
Debra held, being the liaison to Gold Star Mothers was her most rewarding one. To move from a Blue Star Mother to a Gold Star Mother, the family must have lost a child (killed in action, in combat, or certain military support operations) during their military service. It was the ultimate sacrifice for the troop and family. Debra’s job was to support each Gold Star Mother and her family. Some of her responsibilities were to secure lodging for guests, engage a speaker, arrange for meals, set-up transportation, provide security using Rolling Thunder, and attend the funeral. If the family needed it, Debra made it happen by pulling from every resource she had.
a great deal to her. Challenge Coins are private awards, an award without ceremony. The coins are distributed by one high ranking officer to another as a sign of a job well done. For a civilian to receive a Challenge Coin, it is an incredible honor. Debra also received the Cherry Wings Award from the Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, the 2018 Veteran Supporter of the Year Award from the Grand Traverse Veteran’s Coalition, the Distinguished Service
Award from the Red Cross, and a medal to be pinned on her jacket from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for Distinguished Service. Debra’s retirement has left a considerable void in Veterans’ services in terms of effort, love, and imagination. As a nation, we salute you, Debra Ankerson, and know you will never be truly absent as those you helped will carry on with a bit of your love in tow.
With every Gold Star Mother experience, emotional bonds were formed between Debra and the family. On her own, Debra keeps families in touch with one another. She has created a Gold Star room in her home on Elk Lake in Elk Rapids for Gold Star families to come to when they need time to regroup. The family has an opportunity to stay in a peaceful environment free of charge for as long as they want. The Gold Star room is used frequently and confidentially. Debra has received several awards honoring her service. She is proud of each one. However, the dozen or so Challenge Coins she received from high ranking brass mean
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Was the War
Worth the Cost? By T. Seth
1861 to 1865 was a period of devastating bloodshed and one of the most painful conflicts that the US ever saw.
e know it as the Civil War. More than the loss of precious lives, the event left an indelible scar on our country that has been visible for many generations. The time period after the end of the war left countless people and families shredded across the country, though today, we may interact with the knowledge of this conflict as chapters in history rather than the frightening reality it was. Even though the war left uncounted dead and many families bereaved, it brought in
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some immediate changes. One undeniably good outcome was the establishment of equality and civil rights via the Emancipation Proclamation. The stepping stones towards the Civil Rights Movement began helping the freed slaves to gain the same privileges as their white counterparts, which gave birth to African American citizenship thus granting protection under the law to all men that were citizens in the US. Women also took on more male-centric roles during the Civil War which led to them developing an independent mindset and eventually seeking an equalrights status as well.
Many would agree that the war was a catastrophe, but it also gave way to a new wave of industrialization and innovation. The post-war period visualized a rapid replacement of hand labor by machines, eventually leading to the decline of plantations in the South. The desire people had to move closer to their work resulted in increasing population densities and access to higher living standards. Not only did the industries boom but the invention of railroads sped up the transfer of goods thus generating more profits and greater jobs. Technology acted as a catalyst to the already booming businesses thus opening the US to the modern age. Good or bad, the Civil War did teach a lot of lessons that have kept another war of this scale at bay. The war not only taught the value of human life but also leadership in tactics; victory and defeat; division and reunification. The leadership provided by Robert E. Lee was truly remarkable as it enabled the Northern Virginia Army to make a solid impact. Lee had succeeded in building a trusting, unified, and motivated team unlike most of the Union and Confederate contemporaries. The war also taught that innovation can accomplish huge leaps of forwarding progress. The old offensive tactics of the American troops proved obsolete in the Civil War due to technological advancements of
the rifle-musket, which enormously elevated the infantry’s range and accuracy. Reunification and reconstruction of the US was perhaps the best lesson learned from the War. The achievements of attempts to create a political and social revolution even after an economic collapse were outstanding. The African-Americans were open to participating at all levels of the government and eventually attained full civil rights. Winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress were further victories achieved by the Reconstruction Act. The mass-scale destruction of land and life, although it left a scar in the pages of history, definitely shaped the future of America thus abolishing slavery forever and reconstituting several human rights. The unification of the South and the North, one strong in agriculture and the other in industrialization brought around inventions and increased learnings, thereby evading a war of this scale ever after. While most would be reticent to call the war “good,” many would venture to say that the cost of the war compared to the victories and lessons learned was worth the high price extracted. While not all may agree, this can be said without evocation, much good resulted from this conflict, and many freedoms exist today because of the battle fought and the victories won.
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Deer,Dad,and Opening Day By Pete Lathrop
or as long as I can remember, something between dread and glee struggles within me when fall comes around. I can’t quite explain it. When the first signs of color form on the maples and the slight drops in temperature take place, I begin to think about the brevity of the few warm months of northern Michigan and begin to prepare for the coming winter. That’s the dreadful part. But the
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beginning of autumn also brings about warm memories of conversations with my dad about the coming hunting season. The deep love of the outdoors and pursuing the elusive whitetail deer brought a special bond between us. Dad has been gone for a while now, but I still talk to him while driving my pickup to work in the morning. I can hear him ask me if I’ve found a spot to hang my stand or if the acorns are heavy or not. That’s
To me, deer hunting season is more than just pulling the trigger on a prize buck. It’s full of tradition, emotion, and anticipation.
usually when I go on autopilot and, inexorably, find myself walking the next day to my old hunting grounds to prepare for the coming season. I bring my pruner to cut away any new growth in my shooting lanes. I look for early scrapes or rubs from the bucks. I sometimes ask dad where he’d sit. Then I’ll find a new spot to hang a stand. To me, deer hunting season is more than just pulling the trigger on a prize buck. It’s full of tradition, emotion, and anticipation. This “right-of-passage” that begins with a 12 year old child is beyond mere sport; It brings with it something that drives people, like myself, to hang on to memories, drives me to value family and honor the animal I pursue. The inner feeling when deer season approaches is almost tangible. That strange combination of old memories, the love of a son for his dad, the waning moments of warmth, the frost on the field grass, and the deep tradition of hunting is an indescribable paradox of dread and glee. And that’s the mystery only a true hunter experiences.
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You Don’t Have to be
a Veteran to Help Veterans By Rachael Sherman
f you are involved in any veteran organization in the Northern Michigan there’s a very good chance you’ve heard the name, Scott Herzberg. You’d think he was a veteran because of his passion and knowledge of what veterans need, especially when it comes to getting an education. With a strong family history of military service, one could have predicted Scott would also serve in the military, but a childhood medical issue excluded him from that opportunity. This did not deter him. He sought out ways to help veterans coming home and seeking education as the POC for Military and Veteran Services at Northwestern Michigan College.
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Transitioning from military to civilian life can be difficult and scary, especially if college is part of that transition. Veterans returning home may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or hyper-vigilance. All of which makes the classroom setting a problematic place to be at times. A history class discussion could trigger memories of trauma. A busy and talkative class could be overwhelming and nervewracking. Even driving to school can be a triggering activity for some veterans. Scott Herzberg has created a space for veterans to learn which accommodates their needs and affords them the best educational experience possible. Scott’s office is very dynamic and can help address various issues that may divert veterans off their educational path. There’s a lounge for veterans only to enjoy a coffee cup in a veteran-friendly space. Scott is equipped to help veterans navigate the GI Bill application process and other VA benefits. He gives tours of classrooms ahead of time so veterans can be prepared, and he says class sizes are
limited to 20-30 students in classes where veterans will be in attendance. Scott has also helped coordinate what he calls friend-raising – he works with organizations in the community such as Higher Grounds who sold a specialty, veteran-themed coffee, and gave a portion of sales to Scott’s cause. This helps build not just funds but connections between veterans and others in the community who can help. These funds are set aside to help veterans with things like groceries or even utility bills if needed. The idea is that sometimes other things going on in a veteran’s life can hold them back from learning, and Scott will do whatever it takes to help keep the veteran in the classroom. He’s even pioneering a housing project called Charlie Gulf One to help veterans and their families transition into a permanent housing situation. When asked how Scott has made all of this possible, he says “no one tells me no”. Everyone he’s asked for help or support has given it, no questions asked. He describes the faculty and staff at NMC as his biggest supporters. He didn’t ask for a Veterans Day
celebration and for classes and offices to close for the day, they just did it. He gives all the credit to the veterans he serves and to his supporting staff and community for doing everything possible to help him help veterans. He refuses to take any credit, but Scott has built something incredibly special. He has coordinated the type of transitional support, knowledge, and access to resources that the military feebly attempts to offer separating military members. Northwestern Michigan College is “one of the nation’s top two community colleges for its service to veterans” and is deemed a gold level veteran-friendly school by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for three years running, and that is because of people like Scott Herzberg.
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Harbor Attack A Historical Description By T.Seth
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The Pearl Harbor attack is probably one of the events which had a profound impact on WW2. It forced the United States to enter the war and changed the equation.
ith Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US Pacific Fleet was decimated. Soon after the attack, both Germany and Italy made a declaration of war against the United States. Thus, America found itself in the middle of a global war. Roots of the War The attack on Pearl Harbor took Americans by surprise. Yet, the roots of such an attack were sowed a long time back. It goes to as far as four decades before the Pearl
Harbor attack took place. With Japan’s industrialization boom, it wanted to base its growth like other major western countries. To support its industrialization, Japan wanted to establish colonies in AsiaPacific. They aimed to secure resources and develop further markets for Japan’s products. It was not an easy task for Japan as its desires put it squarely against the United States. The typical stage of competition between the United States and Japan was particularly true in the Chinese market.
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The Americans could have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor. A communication delay was the main culprit here.
Japan’s first step towards building an empire for itself started with an invasion of Manchuria. It was located in Northern China, and the province is both fertile and rich in resources. The Japanese government put in place a puppet government in Manchuria. Yet, it was never officially recognized by the United States government. The US government adopted a doctrine known as the Stimson Doctrine against Japan’s forced regime in China’s Manchuria province. The Stimson Doctrine was the core policy of the US in handling Japan’s activities in Asia. But, the Stimson Doctrine wasn’t sufficient. It is because the doctrine did not inflict any meaningful consequences against Japan. On the other hand, the Stimson Doctrine proved ineffective in providing support for China. The US and Japan continued to have trade relations with many American companies, still supplying Japan with petroleum and steel. At the same time, there was a powerful isolationist movement among the American people. They believed that the United States should not enter in any international conflicts. Even the 1937 Rape of Nanking didn’t get the US government to
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shift its policy against Japan. But Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything. It compelled the United States to enter the war. The Looming Tensions Between the United States and Japan In July 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, cut off the American shipments of steel, scrap iron, and aviation fuel to Japan. Yet, he did not stop the shipments of American oil to Japan. Soon, Japan took over the French Indochina region. They did it with the permission of the Nazi-occupied French government. In July 1941, the Japanese Empire made a move against the southern Indochinese region. Japan aimed to attack the British Malaya region from there. British Malaya was a resource-rich region. It was a source for products such as tin, rubber, and rice. The Japanese Empire also had an eye on the Dutch East Indies region. After getting to know about the Japanese Empire’s intentions, President Roosevelt froze all Japanese Empire assets in the United States, according to History.com. This, cutting off the Japanese Empire from accessing the US oil.
Roosevelt’s move pushed Japan to go ahead with the “Southern Operation.” Under the Southern operation, Japan was to attack the naval facilities of Great Britain in Singapore. It also included attacking Pearl Harbor and American interests in the Philippines. Both Japan and the United States were involved in diplomatic talks to reduce the tensions. Yet, none of the parties budged from their position. The Attack The US officials met the Japanese officials and presented them with a 10-point statement. It reiterated the position of the United States government against Japanese conquests in Asia. At the same time, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s armada of 414 planes aboard six aircraft carriers was ordered to sail the sea. Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku created a plan, and the main target of this attack was Pearl Harbor. He planned to destroy the Pearl Harbor-based US Pacific Fleet. The Japanese Imperial Navy decided to maintain strict radio silence throughout their sail to the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Captain Mitsuo Fuchido led Japanese planes that took off from the aircraft carrier at 6:00 am sharp on December 7. At 7:30 am, the Japanese pilots spotted the land, and thus, they took attacking positions. With Fuchida’s plane just above the American ships docked in Pearl Harbor, Captain Fuchida broke the radio silence. He shouted, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” It was the code indicating that the Japanese took Americans by surprise. The Japanese kept attacking American ships and service members for almost two hours. Yet, they weren’t able to destroy the fuel tanks and repair shops in Pearl Harbor. The Japanese
weren’t able to achieve all their goals by attacking Pearl Harbor. It is because no American aircraft carriers were present in Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. The Japanese also attacked the British and American bases in Midway Islands, Hong Kong, Malaya, Guam, Wake Islands, and the Philippines after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Americans could have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor. A communication delay was the main culprit here. A decrypted message was sent to Washington sometime before Japanese planes led by Fuchida took off from their aircraft carriers. An Oahu-based radar reporter also informed
about a large number of planes heading towards the United States. Unfortunately, American officials did not give any due importance to this report. President Roosevelt got to know about the attack while he was finishing his lunch. After knowing about the attack, he got busy writing an address that he planned to deliver to Congress the next day. He aimed to get support from the US Congress to declare war against Imperial Japan. Roosevelt wrote the draft to get the American population to rally behind him to support his decision to declare war against Japan. Hence, America had to enter a war that most of the Americans hoped to avoid.
References from History.com. www.census.gov/history/pdf/pearl-harbor-fact-sheet and totallyhistory.com/stimson-doctrine/
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