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VOL. 2/ISSUE 5

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013

Santa wears combat boots — and a flight suit Patrick McCallister For Veteran voice

patrick.mccallister@yahoo.com

Photo courtesy of Warbird Gift Shop The Warbird Gift Shop at the Warbird Museum at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, 660 Tico Road, Titusville, has numerous unusual items for military and aviation buffs on people’s holiday shopping lists. has a clear idea of what he or she is looking for. The museum and store are open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Ship Store sales benefit the SEALs museum, a tour of which is also a great gift. Heading north, there’s the Victory Center Military Store at the Indian River Mall, 6200 20th St., Vero Beach. “We have all branches of service,” Bill Beyerle, volunteer manager, said. “We have flags, we have shirts. We have hoodies.” Sold by an all-volunteer staff of men and women raising money that benefits area veterans and organizations.

“We have a lot of stuff,” Beyerle said. From decorative items for cars, offices and homes to — “We have some stuffed animals with sweaters with Army, Navy, Marines,” Beyerle said. Along with the Wall of Honor that memorializes those from Indian River County who served, or are serving, in the military. Visitors are invited to add loved ones, or themselves, to the wall by taking 5-by-7 photos with names and ranks. Then there’s the R & R Bunker, a place for the non-shopper in the family to relax on a couch reading or watching TV as others make their ways through the store, or mall.

The Victory store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sundays. It’s open on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. in December only. The phone is (772) 226-5316. It’s on the web at vcms-fl.com. Going up to Brevard, there’s the Warbird Gift Shop at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, 660 Tico Road, Titusville. “We have quite a few people who come in (to the museum) just to shop,” Pam Watson, gift shop manager, said. “We do have a large gift shop. We carry clothing, we carry clocks. We carry models from the Franklin Mint down to the easy-to-assemble ones for

See SHOP page 9

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‘Tis the season to be veteran. Don’t know what to get for a vet? No problem. The Treasure and Space coasts have just the places to find gifts for military buffs. The best part is, shopping at them helps deserving organizations. “We have great gifts that honor the Navy SEALs,” Margaret Chase, retail manager at the National Navy SEAL Museum Ship Store, said. “We have everything from high end watches to drink containers, toys and T-shirts.” The Ship Store is at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, 3300 N. State Road A1A, North Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce. “We have a line of shirts from a company called ‘Forged,’ which were created by former Navy SEALs,” Chase said. Along with clocks, patches, decorative items for offices and homes, in addition to specialty playing cards. Of course, it’s the SEALs’ Ship Store, so it’s got to have something else. “We have a large collection of knives,” Chase said. Sweet. Knives from Smith & Wesson, KA-BAR, SOG, and Tac Force. “(Customers) can come and shop and don’t have to pay the museum admission to do that,” Chase said. “They can also buy things on the website and have them shipped.” That’s at navysealmuseum.com/ museum-store. The phone number is (772) 595-5845. Chase said the shop can do a telephone order, assuming the shopper


2 • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

anD our obJeCtIVe

Veteran Voice is a weekly publication designed to provide information to and about veterans to veterans and to the broader community. Veterans are an integral part of their Florida communities, which currently have individual organizations of their own, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America and many other groups with a narrow focus, but no convenient way to connect to a wider population of veterans and to the community in general within a limited geographic area, their community. The mission of Veteran Voice is to publish a weekly source of information that will provide, in one place, a listing of resources available to veterans, articles about changes in policies or organizations affecting veterans and events of interest to veterans as well as articles about veterans of interest to the general public. Veteran Voice LLC is organized as a partnership of experienced newspaper executives with an interest in veterans and in the communities of Florida veterans and friends. Veteran Voice is a start-up intended to address a perceived lack of information readily available to veterans on programs and policies affecting them and objective reporting of veteran affairs to the public. To our knowledge, and based on comments from leaders of local veterans organizations, there was no media or website currently meeting this need until the launch of Veteran Voice. We hope you agree, and will support this publication with your subscription. Without subscriptions there will be a limited number of people we can help, without which this mission will not be realized. As part of our commitment to supporting local veteran communities, we will donate 10 percent of our profits each quarter to qualified veteran charities recommended by you, our readers and subscribers. Please let us know what you think by emailing news@veteranvoiceweekly.com or mailing your comments to us at 1919 S.W. South Macedo Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.

County Veterans Service Officers St. Lucie County, Wayne Teegardin Phone: (772) 337-5670 Fax: (772) 337-5678 veterans@stlucieco.org Dorothy J. Conrad Building (formerly the Walton Road Annex Bldg.) 1664 S.E. Walton Road, Suite 205 Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 By appointment Mon., Tues, Thurs, Fri * 8:30 am-4:30 pm Wed * 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Lucie County Community Services Bldg. (Corner of Avenue D and 7th Street) 437 N. Seventh St., Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Walk-ins Mon. and Fri. * 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Brevard Veteran’s Services Office 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Bldg. B, Suite 102, Viera, FL 32940 Office: (321) 633-2012 Fax: (321) 637-5432 Mon., Tues. and Thurs., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed. and Fri, 8 a.m.-noon Manager: Glenn McGuffie Indian River County Joel Herman Vero Beach 2525 St. Lucie Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Ph: (772) 226-1499 Fax: (772) 770-5038 Sebastian Square 11602 U.S. 1, Sebastian, FL 32958 Ph: (772) 589-6597 Fax: (772) 581-4988

Veteran Voice The Voice of Experience

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Martin County Tony Reese, Veterans Service Office Supervisor Nick Ciotti, Veterans Service Officer (772) 288-5448 Veterans Services Office Martin County Community Services 435 S.E. Flagler Ave., Stuart, FL 34994 Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. VA Life Insurance Ctr., Phil., PA 1-800-669-8477 VA Regional Office - 1-800-827-1000 VA Medical Ctr, W. Palm Beach 1-800-972-8262 Pharmacy, VA Medical Center 1-800-317-8387 Military Retired Pay Activities, Cleveland, OH - (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force ONLY) 1-800-321-1080 Military Retired Pay Activities, Topeka, KS - (Coast Guard ONLY) 1-800-772-8724 Survivor Benefits (SBP), Denver, CO - 1-800-435-3396 Stuart VA Clinic - (772) 288-0304 Okeechobee County Veterans Services office (863) 763-6441, Ext 5. Fax: (863) 763-0118. Orlando VA Medical Cente 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, FL 32803 (407) 629-1599 or (800) 922-7521 Telephone Care (407) 599-1404 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. - Fri. (800) 645-6895 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mon - Fri (321) 637-3625

West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center 7305 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-8262 or (800) 972-8262 Telephone Care (561) 422-6838 (866) 383-9036 Open 24 hours - 7 days Viera VA Outpatient Clinic 2900 Veterans Way, Viera, FL 32940 Phone: (321) 637-3788 1 (877) 878-8387 Mon. - Fri. - 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. St Lucie County PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) Outpatient Program 126 S.W. Chamber Court, Port St Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 878-7876 Fort Pierce Community Based Outpatient Clinic 727 North U.S. 1, Fort Pierce, FL 34950 Phone: (772) 595-5150 Fax: (772) 595-6560 St Lucie Community Based Outpatient Clinic 128 S.W. Chamber Court, Port Saint Lucie, FL 34986 Phone: (772) 344-9288 Stuart Community Based Outpatient Clinic 3501 S E Willoughby Boulevard, Stuart, FL 34997 Phone: (772) 288-0304 Fax: (772) 288-1371 Vero Beach Community Based Outpatient Clinic 372 17th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960 Phone: (772) 299-4623 Fax: (772) 299-4632

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VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • 3

Purple Heart city ceremony

Purple Heart recipient Israel Schulman of Port St. Lucie admires the medallion presented to him by Mayor JoAnn Faiella during a presentation made during the City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 25. Schulman was in the 29th U.S. Army infantry and was wounded by gunshot in 1944. Mitch Kloorfain chief photographer

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Photos courtesy of Paul DeYoung On Monday, Nov. 25, the city of Port St. Lucie celebrated its second year as A Purple Heart City, sponsored by Mayor JoAnn M. Faiella, in the Council Chambers. Yvette Cruz was the RSVP person. Multiple Purple Heart recipients from the city received a beautiful Purple Heart Pin which read “City of Port St. Lucie” and the year 2013 in white was inserted at the bottom of the heart. Danny Witts is a lifetime Disabled American Veterans Post 113 member and Donna Carlsen said she was glad to shake his hand and thank him for his outstanding service to our country. Others were from various local organizations such as Vietnam Veterans of America, Post 566, other American Legions and DAV chapters. Above left, Purple Heart recipients Mike Kipper, in green shirt, to his right, Myles Gill and the Marine in red is Gregg Mann. Above right, Danny Witts and companion and Donna Carlsen.


4 • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

‘Pearl was burning from one end to the other’ Florida man remembers Pearl Harbor Patrick McCallister For Veteran voice

patrick.mccallister@yahoo.com

It was likely the two hours that most transformed America. Shortly before 8 a.m., local time, on Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American military facilities on the Hawaiian Islands. As chance would have it, “George” Osmer Crippen, 93, was wrapping up a bit of leave that weekend morning when all hell broke loose. “I was stationed at (Hickam Field), which is next door to (Pearl Harbor),” he said. “That particular day, I was in Hilo, the Big Island, for the weekend.” The Army Air Corps mechanic and a handful of others were awaiting a pilot to take them home when a radio operator put the brakes on that plan. “He said, ‘Something’s going on in Hickam; I don’t know what it is,’ This announcer was saying, ‘Everyone report to your stations and doctors and nurses to the hospital.’ That kept repeating over and over.” The handful of men there figured out over the next few hours that America was under attack. “The airplane we had was a (Douglas B-18 Bolo),” Crippen said. “We had no armament on it. No bombs, no machine guns. Nothing. There was nothing much we could do about it.” Except roll the plane under some

cover, and wait. It’s easy in hindsight to see the near inevitability of the Japanese

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attack. The historically xenophobic nation had long felt that growing European and American influences in Asia were threatening it, but also weakening rivals. In 1937 Japan expanded from the previously-occupied Manchuria to invade its longstanding rival, China. The invasion was generally quick and successful, but occupation was economically and militarily costly. Japan needed natural resources to continue the Second Sino-Japanese War, but the United States had embargoed oil and other resources sales to the island nation. America was also supporting Chinese resistance. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt transferred much of America’s military might to the Hawaiian Islands to thwart any Japanese thoughts of expansion across the Pacific. But, Crippen said, even among the military men stationed on the Hawaiian Islands, war seemed improbable. “We had no idea prior to that that there was such a thing as an attack,” he said. Crippen added, “We were practically helpless. In peace time during those days, we didn’t have

access to arms, except when we were on guard duty or maneuvers. Before the war, we had no reason to have arms of any kind. We just worked as mechanics, or pilots or navigators.” The Navy’s official record of the attack holds that six Japanese aircraft carriers accompanied by 24 support ships launched 181 planes — torpedo, dive and horizontal bombers, along with some fighters — at about 6 a.m. “The Japanese aircrews achieved complete surprise when they hit American ships and military installations on Oahu shortly before 8:00 a.m.,” reads an article at history.navy.mil. “They attacked military airfields at the same time they hit the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. The Navy air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airfield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps fields at Bellows, Wheeler and Hickam were all bombed and strafed as other elements of the attacking force began their assaults on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor.” About 30 minutes after the first attack wave, the Japanese launched a second with about 170 planes. When the attack ended at about 10 a.m., the U.S. Pacific Fleet had 21 sunken or heavily damaged ships, including eight battleships. Additionally, 188 airplanes were destroyed, another 159 damaged. And 2,403 Americans were dead, including 68 civilians. Another 1,178 seriously wounded. Crippen would get his first look at the damage about 12 hours later as he flew over the naval base. “Pearl was burning from one end to the other,” he said. “It was an awful mess.” Those that survived the attack were tense. “They shot at us with automatic fire,” Crippen said. “Nothing big. Thankfully they hadn’t had any experience shooting at moving things at night. They got plenty of experience later.” The military quickly reinforced defenses to fight back any additional Japanese attacks. It seemed likely that the Japanese were planning a ground invasion. Crippen saw a fellow with a box of ammunition marked “Use only for maneuvers.” He’d crossed off “maneuvers” and wrote “war.” “That act of his, I said, ‘My goodness we are at war, aren’t we?’” Crippen said. Crippen moved from fixing the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses

See PEARL page 8


VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • 5 Florida man ‘George’ Osmer Crippen stands with his brother, Craig. Crippen was stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii in 1941. As chance had it, he was visiting Hilo on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. His flight back to the station was delayed by the Japanese attack on American military installations. He saw the damage 12 hours later.

Photo courtesy of Jen Horton, Deland-Deltona Beacon

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Photo courtesy of Jen Horton, Deland-Deltona Beacon Florida man ‘George’ Osmer Crippen was stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii in 1941. As chance had it, he was visiting Hilo on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. His flight back to the station was delayed by the Japanese attack on American military installations. He saw the damage 12 hours later.


6 • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

Build the Center Benefit honored those who cared for the wounded: Vietnam Veterans of America receive legacy of service award

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund hosted its fourth annual signature fundraiser, the Build the Center Benefit, on Nov. 21, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. This gala event was created to raise awareness and funds for the building of the Education Center at The Wall, while also honoring individuals who have been visible, vocal and generous in their effort to bring greater awareness of the values of loyalty, duty and service. This year, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is proud to salute individuals and groups who cared for the wounded, not only highlighting the bravery of those who served America overseas, but focusing on the role that medical teams from all branches played in providing in-country life-saving care to our fighting forces and allies. Vietnam Veterans of America, along with the DUSTOFF Association, the American Red Cross

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CENTER from page 6

To learn more about the Build the Center Project, go to http://www.vvmf.org/gala. service members, veterans, and their families’ access to high quality health care. “The VVA has been essential in helping Vietnam veterans adjust to civilian life,” said VVMF founder and president, Jan C. Scruggs had said prior to the event. “My generation is so thankful for the VVA’s steadfast support and community, and I will be honored to recognize them at the benefit.”

The Build the Center Benefit was held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium located at 1301 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Nov. 21, with cocktails, followed by dinner and an awards program. Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promot-

ing healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War.  The Education Center at The Wall will be a place on our National Mall where our military heroes’ stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. With plans to begin construction in 2016, the Center is a technologically-inno-

See CENTER page 9

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loved ones as a result of one of the most divisive conflicts in our nation’s history. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Jan Scruggs for his leadership, vision, and determination to ensure that our nation never forgets those who served and the lessons learned from the Vietnam War,” said John Rowan, national president, Vietnam Veterans of America.    The Legacy of Service award was created to honor individuals who promote American values of freedom, justice, and duty through steadfast service and tireless dedication to the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. Also at the event, retired Admiral Michael Mullen, USN, the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Congressman Don Young, R-Ark., were recognized for their lifelong service to the country and their support of the Education Center. Former sportscaster Frank Herzog will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Other guests include Vietnam veterans and their families, VVMF board of directors, members of the Administration, Congress, and the Armed Forces. The benefit’s lead sponsor is TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a corporation founded to provide

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8 • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE Florida man ‘George’ Osmer Crippen — back row far right — stands with his 1943 Army Air Corps crew. Crippen was stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii in 1941. As chance had it, he was visiting Hilo on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. His flight back to the station was delayed by the Japanese attack on American military installations. He saw the damage 12 hours later.

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year at his Orange City home. “About the only thing I do is put out the flag,” he said. “I fly the flag on Dec. 7. I lost quite a few good friends. As I get older, I think a lot about the guys who never had a chance.”

Please Bring a New Unwrapped Toy


VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • 9

CENTER from page 7

Photo courtesy of Victory Military Store The Victory Center Military Store at the Indian River Mall, 6200 20th St., Vero Beach, has items for all branches of the service.

SHOP from page 1 children.” Where else can you buy a flight suit? In addition to new items, the shop has unusual donated ones with military and aviation themes. “I have like six or seven old board games,” Watson said. “Some have

not even been used.” For example, the Warbird has a 1970s game — Pearl Harbor: the War Against Japan. It’s been opened, but never played. “I have a second one called ‘War at Sea,’” Watson said. That, too, hasn’t been played. Watson can tell because game pieces haven’t been taken from their packaging racks.

The store can do telephoned orders. Its website, vacwarbirds.org and go to the “Gift Shop” link will likely be equipped for online orders next year. The museum and store are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone is (321) 268-1941.

vative learning facility to be built on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials. Visitors will better understand the profound impact that the Vietnam War and other wars had on their friends and family members, their hometowns and the nation. The Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall, honoring those who fell in Vietnam, those who fought and returned, as well as the friends and families of all who served. The Center will also celebrate the legacy of service that links the heroes of America’s past to those still serving today.  Learn more about the Education Center at The Wall by visiting www. vvmf.org or by calling 866-990-WALL.

Proceeds benefit the Warbird Museum.

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HUMANE SOCIETY

Pet of the week

I am a 5-1/2 year-old male Domestic Shorthair feline with gorgeous green eyes. At 8 lbs., I am so soft and friendly. An attention-seeking sweetie, I am eager to snuggle my way into your heart and home!

All senior pets 7 years and older are ½ price to ANYONE looking to adopt him/her. Any Senior (62 and older) will have an adoption fee waived only if the pet is 7 years and older at the time of adoption. Tell your friends that the guest room’s taken—foster a pet; save a life. Help us help more pets by caring for those in need in your own home. Contact Bitsy McKay, bmckay@hstc1. org, 772-600-3217, to apply. Please consider adopting wonderful animals available at the HSTC…...you may just find the love of your life!

Coffee table & 2 end tables wood & glass - $75 772-579-8788 Digital Camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 10 megapixels 18x Wide Angle Zoom MEGA - $175 Original Packaging (561) 203-0987 Twin Bed & Small Desk $100 772-579-8788

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Statement from Secretary Shinseki on the Disabilities Treaty By Eric K. Shinseki WASHINGTON — Ratification of the Disabilities Treaty is important to our nation’s 5.5 million disabled veterans. Ratification of the Disabilities Treaty is not about changing America. It’s about helping the rest of the world raise their accessibility standards to the gold standard the United States has set through our ADA. Ratification will help reinforce America’s global leadership role and reputation, putting us in the strongest position to advance disability rights worldwide. By joining the treaty, we will be helping the 5.5 million veterans with disabilities and the 50 million Americans with disabilities study and work with dignity and pursue greater opportunity abroad with the same access they enjoy at home. I served for roughly 10 years in Europe as a disabled soldier following my tours in Vietnam. During that time, I had to

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12 • DECEMBER 6, 2013 • VETERAN VOICE • THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

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Veteran 12 06 2013