NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS
STUDENTS TACKLE “WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT” PAGE 4
VFW HONORS AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS PAGE 14
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INSIDE THE ISSUE
THANK YOU FROM THE STATE COMMANDER PAGE 2
VOICE OF DEMOCRACY BANQUET
STUDENTS TACKLE “WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT” PAGE 4
VFW IN THE NEWS PAGE 8
VFW HONORS AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS PAGE 14
SOCIAL MEDIA CORNER PAGE 20
THE CALIFORNIA VETERAN IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES, DEPARTMENT OF CALIFORNIA It is an online magazine published four times a year to keep our members informed about important news affecting the VFW and veterans. Click here to Subscribe to our Mailing List to Receive Quarterly Issues of the California Veteran Magazine!
THANK YOU FROM THE STATE COMMANDER
Dear Congressman Ose, On behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you for serving as our keynote speaker at this year’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship Banquet. Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the VFW’s premier scholarship program. Each year, almost 40,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. STATE COMMANDER Michael Kuznik
As you witnessed, California’s finalists are exemplary students and individuals. They have shown an interest in government and politics and a desire to be engaged participants in our democracy. Your meeting with them was an invaluable experience that we hope will help shape their view of our political system as important, approachable and accessible. We are very proud of our students and look forward to following our statewide winner as she competes at the national level this Spring. Thank you again for taking the time to attend and speak at our banquet. Sincerely, Michael Kuznik Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California State Commander
DON’T MISS AN ISSUE! SIGN UP NOW TO RECEIVE THE CALIFORNIA VETERAN DIRECTLY TO YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT! Click the link below to subscribe to the digital distribution list of The California Veteran, and to receive news updates from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California.
https://www.vfwca.org/in-the-news/ca-veteran-magazine This list will not be sold, shared, or utilized for any purpose other than to send you the latest publications of The California Veteran and news updates directly from State Headquarters! 2
Students Tackle “What Makes America Great?” California Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program winner, Elizabeth Meshkin
California Patriot’s Pen Award winner, Lucia Williams
SPRING 2020 · VFWCA.ORG Last month the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California hosted the annual Voice of Democracy Banquet to announce the winner of the annual Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program and recognize the winner of the annual Patriot’s Pen Program.
The California state winner of this year’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program is Elizabeth Meshkin, a junior at San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. Elizabeth is from Ladera Ranch, California. She is a competitive swimmer and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field.
This year’s theme is “What Makes America Great” and over 900 students entered the contest. Winners were determined at multiple levels, before making their way to the state finals. VFWCA Posts and Auxiliaries presented over $60,000 in scholarships and awards this year. The seventeen district winners from all over California attended the banquet on Friday, January 17th.
Elizabeth’s mom and dad both participated in the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program when they were in high school. Her mom was a district winner in California and her dad was a state winner in his home state of Maryland. Elizabeth will continue on to compete at the national level for the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.
VFW IN THE NEWS
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY VETERANS COLLABORATIVE DONATES FOOD TO THOSE WHO SERVED Article provided by www.hometownstation.com
Group photo from Left to Right: Edgar Beltran, Richard Carrillo, Eric Lundgerin, Max Morgan, Al Landsdale, Mark Rubio, Henry Morales, Xavier Aguilera and Danny Buras
On Dec. 23, the center in Newhall facilitated the donation with the motorcycle riders of VFW’s Granada Hills Chapter 2323, according to Bill Reynolds, KHTS Director of Veteran’s Affairs. This group of nine members representing the Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Granada War, Balkans War, the Vietnam War and all military branches, according to Reynolds. The veterans brought in numerous boxes of non-perishable cans of food that required no can openers, according to event organizers. “This occasion represents their very first contribution while establishing a contribution goal of at least $100 of food per month,” Reynolds said. The Santa Clarita Valley Veteran Center volunteers are expected to ensure proper food distribution. SCV’s Homeless Veterans research has shown that there are at least 30 homeless veterans residing in Santa Clarita Valley, according to Reynolds.
Max Morgan, a Navy Seal Vietnam combat Veteran said, “These honorable and dedicated VFW members feel obligated to assist their brethren who sacrificed so much serving our great country. I am proud and humbled to count myself among them.” These riders, some of whom reside in Santa Clarita, are encouraging the public to also deliver non-perishable canned goods to the Veterans Center. VFW motorcycle riders currently meet once a month at their chapter, located at 17522 Chatsworth Street, Granada Hills, California 91344. Those seeking to join the motorcycle riders should contact VFW Riders President, Xavier Aguilera at (818) 307-3440. For more information on the Santa Clarita Veterans Collaborative, visit their website or location at 23222 Lyons Avenue in Newhall.
SPRING 2020 · VFWCA.ORG
TWISTED X SIGNS ON AS TITLE SPONSOR OF VFW YOUTH PROGRAMS
‘We’re excited to bring Twisted X on board to help ensure this treasured tradition continues’ The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to announce Twisted X has signed on to become the title sponsor of its annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen winners’ trip. Twisted X, a longtime supporter of the VFW, initially announced its $130,000 multiyear commitment while presenting a $100,000 donation at the VFW’s 120th National Convention in July 2019. “Every year, the VFW Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen winners’ trip honors the top tier of our nation’s civically minded youth, and we’re excited to bring Twisted X on board to help ensure this treasured tradition continues,” said VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz.
Together, the VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions have helped foster patriotism by challenging students to examine the role our military and veterans play, our nation’s history, its democratic processes, and their own role in America’s future based on an annual theme. Annually, more than 150,000 middle and high school students compete for their share of $3 million in scholarships and awards. “Doing our part to help those that have selflessly served our country is a small token of our appreciation. Their sacrifice enables us to live in the land of the free and allows this country to be the best that it can be. It is with great pleasure and honor that we continue
to support our brave veterans and their families. The valor of these service members is an embodiment of the passion that our constitution stands for,” said Prasad Reddy, Twisted X Global Brands president and CEO. The 2019-2020 national Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen winners will be announced live during the Parade of Winners ceremony at the 2020 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2020. To learn more about the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen competitions, visit vfw.org/youthscholarships
“A FAMILY AFFAIR” Fifty-four years ago (VFW year 1965-1966), Magnus Michael “Mike” Halldorson, a veteran of World War II, was the commander of the Chico California Post 1555. Halldorson had been a Sergeant in the Army, wounded twice in combat, and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. He was imprisoned in Stalag IX-B at Bad Orb, Germany. Always the optimist, although almost dying of malnutrition, jaundice, and pneumonia while suffering from gunshot wounds and being away from his family, he never let his challenging circumstances get him down. After the war, he became a successful businessman and an advocate for veterans’ welfare. Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day would find him at the Veteran’s Hall on the Esplanade in Chico. For years, he and his sons Michael and Alan would pick up a truck load of American flags, fitted with extension poles, and assemble them on the run as they placed the flags around the city streets of Chico in honor of these special holidays. Afterward, they would take down the flags and return them to their “holding area” until the next holiday. This continued until repeated vandalism of the flags forced a halt to this practice. VFW year (2015-2016) found Michael R. Halldorson, a veteran of the Vietnam War, commanding Post 1555. Halldorson served aboard the destroyer USS Hopewell (DD-681) from 1964 until 1967. Upon returning from the war and while attending Chico State College,
he continued installing flags with his father and brother, and attending the traditional “hot dogs and beans” lunches at the Veteran’s Hall. To this day, he has fond memories of the many potluck dinners that he and his family attended on a regular basis. Upon assuming his position, Halldorson asked the other members the rhetorical question, what are the chances that exactly 50 years to the year, I would be the commander of the Post I love? Alan Halldorson, a Vietnam veteran, who served aboard two LST’s (USS Caddo Parrish LST 515 and USS Iredell County (LST 839) on the rivers of Vietnam is also a Life Member of post 1555.
Halldorson is now in his fifth year as commander of the post, which has grown to 250 members and meets at a new Veteran’s Hall on Rio Lindo Avenue in Chico, the first Tuesday night of the month at 6:30 P.M. Following a presentation by a notable speaker or post member about their service, a regular meeting follows. At completion, VFW and Auxiliary members join in the hall to enjoy coffee and desert provided by the members of the post and auxiliary, along with comradeship and Esprit de corps.
SPRING 2020 · VFWCA.ORG
2020 NATIONAL VETERANS DAY POSTER CONTEST
Calling All Artists!
The 2020 National Veterans Day Poster Contest is underway. Each year the Veterans Day National Committee publishes a commemorative Veterans Day poster. The Committee selects a poster from artwork submitted by artists nationwide. It also distributes the winning design to VA facilities, military installations around the world, and across cities and towns in our nation. It then serves as the cover of the official program for the Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Over the years these posters have illustrated the rich history of our country’s service men and women. The poster reflects our pride and patriotism in saluting Veterans while providing the thematic artistry for the year. The theme for Veterans Day 2020 is: “Vision: Veterans in Focus.” All Veterans make a sacrifice to serve their country, whether physically, emotionally, or by being away from their loved ones and missing important life moments. As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back on centuries of Veterans’ service and sacrifice and what we have learned from the past, we must always maintain the vision for the future of Veterans. Putting the Veteran at the center, on Veterans Day we continue to honor all who served, while focusing on the needs of the next generation of Veterans. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
• Be 18” x 24” at 300 dots per inch, scale down submissions to 9”x12.” • The design will be used for a 1” x 1.5” lapel pin. Simple designs look best scaled down to lapel pins. If you’d like to submit a modified design for the lapel pin based off the original poster design, you may do so. • Submissions are not restricted to “human centric” presentations, such as a joint color guard. Imagery of American icons, monuments or scenery can qualify, for example, the American flag. • Representative of all Veterans who served. The Committee may select a particular submission but ask the artist to make modifications to the original design. The Committee may require additional changes prior to printing. • Design must include the words: Veterans Day, November 11, 2020” and “Honoring all who served.” • Include sufficient information to demonstrate that the image is the work of the artist and is not copyrighted material (i.e. photos and concepts). • Successful designs are very simple with minimal imagery and verbiage. To view examples of past winning submissions visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp. • Submit electronic versions as jpg images or PDF files by email to email@example.com or send copies of artwork on a CD with artwork files to: Veterans Day National Committee (002D) Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20420 • The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2020. The Veterans Day National Committee will convene a selection sub-committee in May 2020 to review submissions and make a final selection. • Questions? – contact the Veterans Day Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT DOES PATRIOTISM MEAN TO YOU? Ask anyone the question, “What does patriotism mean to you?” and I promise you, you will not get one standard, clear answer. Sure, you’re going to be told how we live in the greatest country on earth, and how we’re the free and the brave, and you’ll certainly hear about the military, and all the sacrifices that go along with service to our nation. What you probably won’t hear are the many other, deeper ideologies that play into one’s patriotism, or lack thereof. Patriotism to me is the love and respect for one's country. It is not about blindly following the beliefs and cultural values of the country. It is to take pride in one's origin and work for the prosperity of the country. Patriotism is very important. The concept of patriotism is a very complex one. It’s not as simple as reciting a pledge or singing an anthem. Patriotism, by simple definition, is the exaltation of national eminence, typically expressed as power over other nations, and an emotional attachment to the nation that one originates from. Patriotism is an extension of politics and its expressions and meanings are not easily agreed upon. There are so many ways in which people feel patriotic and there are so many differing ideas of what it means to be patriotic. To most, being patriotic is all about the military and the exaltation of our troops. To some, being patriotic is simply exercising the right to vote and elect the leaders of our nation, or to fully embrace the rights of all of us to live freely and speak out against injustices in society. And then to some, apparently, patriotism is defined by a symbolic act at a sporting event. Go ahead, ask someone what it means to them. Get their answer. Royal D Goodman Senior Vice Commander Madera Post 1981
ADJOURNMENT IN MEMORY FOR WWII VETERAN AT STATE CAPITOL Click here to watch Senator Brian Jones Adjourn in the Memory of Lt. Ryan O’Brien – VFW Life Member Post 6158, WWII Veteran.
TAX TIME IS HERE!
Are You Prepared For Tax Time? GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR RETURN
Tax season is here. It is time to start gathering paperwork and preparing to file your 2019 taxes. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you prepare for your tax appointment and ensure you get the most out of your giving. 1. Know what you can deduct. You can deduct cash, property and stock donations made to a charitable organization such as the VFW, if you itemize your taxes. You cannot deduct the value of any time or services spent on charitable work, but you can deduct mileage and vehicle expenses if used for charitable purposes.
MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS REASONS TO JOIN THE VFW: • Camaraderie and fellowship that comes with being part of the nation’s largest group of combat veterans • Opportunity to socialize and perform service with veterans who served on the front line and in support roles • Receive support during the tough times that can follow military service • Access assistance for securing VA and State benefits you are entitled to as a veteran
2. Get organized. You’ll need to take your W-2 form from your employer, charitable receipts, last year’s tax return information and more. Ask your tax preparer what you need and take time to gather these items well in advance of your tax appointment.
• Utilize resources to help you learn about and secure jobs
3. Involve the professionals. A professional tax advisor is the best person for advice on specific tax issues.
• Enjoy knowing other veterans, military personnel and their families
TIP: MAKE TAX TIME EASIER
• Help to generate patriotism and troop support through VFW programs
Transfer records to personal budgeting software such as Mint, YNAB or Quicken. Digitize your information from financial transactions to stay organized. Some apps also integrate with tax software to make preparation much easier. QUESTIONS?
Please don’t hesitate to contact Chrissy Mason at 816.968.1119 or email@example.com. We’d be happy to help and can discuss how you can make supporting the VFW a part of your plans.
•• Save money through discounts on numerous insurance and health care plans • Cut vacation expenses through discounts on travel and other services
• Relax and enjoy life knowing that the VFW has your back on many fronts
ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation's largest and oldest major war veterans organization. Founded in 1899, the congressionally-chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With more than 1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 6,200 Posts worldwide, the nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org. MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Davis, VFW Director of Communications, Publications and Public Affairs, JDavis@vfw.org
VFW Honors African-American Medal of Honor Recipients
PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.MOHCONVENTION.COM
by Dave Spiva, Associate Editor for VFW Magazine
(From left to right) Present day Medal of Honor for Army, Navy, and Air Force.
MORE THAN 3,500 SERVICE MEMBERS HAVE EARNED THE NATION’S HIGHEST MILITARY DECORATION. BUT OF THOSE, ONLY 92 HAVE BEEN BLACK MEN, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR SOCIETY.
A total of 39 African-American veterans have earned the Medal of Honor during VFW-qualifying actions, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society More than 3,500 service members have earned the nation’s highest military decoration. But of those, only 92 have been black men, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The Medal of Honor (MOH) is an award that dates back to the Civil War. The first African-American service member who earned the prestigious award was Army Sgt. William H. Carney, a man born a slave in 1840 in Norfolk, Va., according to the Department of Defense. Attached to C Co., 54th Massachusetts Colored Inf. Regt., Carney earned the MOH for his actions on July 18, 1864, during a battle at Fort Wagner on Morris Island, S.C. A battle narrative recalls that his unit’s color guard was shot, and Carney took it upon himself to catch the flag and not let it touch the ground. He is believed to have carried the flag throughout the battle without letting it touch the ground, even when he was wounded. Carney was later presented with the Medal of Honor on May 23, 1900. Delays in presenting African-Americans their earned Medals of Honor have been common throughout American history. In the early 1990s, the Army worked with Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., to determine if any racial disparity was present during the process of considering Medals of Honor for black troops.
The investigation determined that seven African-American soldiers should have received the Medal of Honor during World War II. Those seven men are 1st Lt. Vernon J. Baker, Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr., 1st Lt. John R. Fox, Pfc. Willy F. James Jr., Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers, Maj. Charles L. Thomas and Pvt. George Watson.
LIST OF THE 39 AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN WHO HAVE EARNED THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING VFW-QUALIFYING ACTIONS
During a ceremony on Jan. 12, 1997, at the White House, all men were awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. Baker was the only living recipient at the time of the ceremony. As of November 2019, the most recent African-American service member to receive the Medal of Honor was Marine Sgt. Major John L. Canley for his actions during the Battle of Hue in January-February 1968 in the Vietnam War. Canley was presented the award by President Donald Trump during a ceremony on Oct. 17, 2018, at the White House. This article is featured in the February 2020 issue of VFW magazine.
WORLD WAR I
Sgt. Maj. Edward L. Baker Jr. 10th Cav Regt. July 1, 1898 Santiago, Cuba Left cover to rescue a wounded soldier from drowning.
Cpl. Freddie Stowers* C Co., 371st Inf. Regt., 93rd Div. Sept. 28, 1918 Champagne-Marne, France Urged squad to fight after wounded by machine-gun fire.
Pvt. Dennis Bell H Troop, 10th Cav Regt. June 30, 1898 Cuba Voluntarily went ashore to aid in rescue of troops.
Pvt. Henry Johnson** C Co., 369th Inf. Regt., 93rd Div. May 14, 1918 Argonne Forest, France Prevented wounded soldier from being taken prisoner and fought with only a knife.
Pvt. Fitz Lee M Troop, 10th Cav Regt. June 30, 1898 Cuba Voluntarily went ashore to aid in rescue of troops. Pvt. William H. Thompkins G Troop, 10th Cav Regt. June 30, 1898 Cuba Voluntarily went ashore to aid in rescue of troops. Pvt. George H. Wanton M Troop, 10th Cav Regt. June 30, 1898 Cuba Voluntarily went ashore to aid in rescue of troops. NAVY
Fireman 1st Class Robert Penn USS Iowa (BB-4) July 20, 1898 Off Santiago, Cuba Stopped a fire during a boiler accident.
Sgt. Maj. Edward L. Baker Jr. Medal of Honor receipt 1898.
KEY * KIA, earned posthumously ** Earned posthumously (not KIA) ^ Living recipient (as of November 2019)
Pvt. Henry Johnson Medal of Honor receipt 1918.
continued on page 10
LIST OF THE 39 AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN WHO HAVE EARNED THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING VFW-QUALIFYING ACTIONS continued WORLD WAR II ARMY
1st Lt. Vernon J. Baker Weapons Plt., C Co., 1st Bn., 370th Inf. Regt., 92nd Inf. Div. April 5-6, 1945 Viareggio, Italy Killed nine enemy soldiers and eliminated three machine-gun positions. Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr.** 56th Armd. Inf. Bn., 12th Armd. Div. March 23, 1945 Speyer, Germany While wounded, killed six and captured two Germans. 1st Lt. John R. Fox* 598th FA Bn., 366th Inf. Regt., 92nd Inf. Div. Dec. 26, 1944 Sommocolonia, Italy Caused the deaths of about 100 German troops. Pfc. Willy F. James Jr.* G Co., 413th Inf. Regt., 104th Inf. Div. April 7, 1945 Lippoldsberg, Germany Volunteered to scout German positions and took the point in a counter attack.
Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers* A Co., 761st Tank Bn. Nov. 15-19, 1944 Guebling, France Directed tank fire at enemy positions, while wounded. Maj. Charles L. Thomas** C Co., 614th Tank Destroyer Bn., 411th Inf. Regt., 103rd Inf. Div. Dec. 14, 1944 Climbach, France Directed soldiers of C Company to fight enemy forces, while wounded. Pvt. George Watson* 2nd Bn., 29th Quartermaster Regt. March 8, 1943 Porloch Harbor, New Guinea Saved soldiers who could not swim after transport ship was attacked by bombers.
KOREAN WAR ARMY
Sgt. Cornelius H. Charlton* C Co., 1st Bn., 24th Inf. Regt., 25th Inf. Div. June 2, 1951 Chipo-ri, Korea Killed six Chinese soldiers and destroyed two enemy positions. Pfc. William Thompson* M Co., 3rd Bn., 24th Inf. Regt., 25th Inf. Div. Aug. 6, 1950 Haman, Korea Killed countless enemy troops, while wounded.
VIETNAM WAR ARMY
Sgt. 1st Class Webster Anderson A Btry., 2nd Bn., 320th Arty Regt., 101st Abn. Inf. Div. Oct. 15, 1967 Tam Ky, Vietnam Directed unit to fight while being wounded by several grenades. Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr. Medal of Honor receipt 1945.
Pfc. William Thompson Medal of Honor receipt 1950.
Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Ashley Jr.* Detachment A-101, C Co., 5th Special Forces Grp., 1st Special Forces Feb. 6-7, 1968 Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam Led assault in attempt to save other troops. Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bryany* A Co., 5th Special Forces Grp., 1st Special Forces March 24, 1969 Long Khรกnh Province, Vietnam Directed attacks against enemy, while wounded. Spec. 6 Lawrence Joel 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., 173rd Abn. Bde. Nov. 8, 1965 Binh Duong Province, Vietnam While wounded, defied orders to treat wounded soldiers. Spec. 5 Dwight H. Johnson B Co., 1st Bn., 69th Armor Regt., 4th Inf. Div. Jan. 15, 1968 Dak To, Vietnam Killed several enemy troops, which saved fellow soldiers.
KEY * KIA, earned posthumously ** Earned posthumously (not KIA) ^ Living recipient (as of November 2019)
Pfc. Garfield M. Langhorn* C Trp., 7th Sqdn., 17th Cav Regt., 1st Avn. Bde. Jan. 15, 1969 Pleiku, Vietnam Threw himself on enemy grenade to protect wounded soldiers. Sgt. Matthew Leonard* Co. B, 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., 1st Inf. Div. Feb. 28, 1967 Suoi Da, Vietnam Commanded men and charged an enemy machine gun, while wounded. Sgt. Donald R. Long* C Trp., 1st Sqdn., 4th Cav Regt., 1st Inf. Div. June 30, 1966 Binh Long province, Vietnam Threw himself on enemy grenade to save eight fellow troops. Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris^ 3rd Co., 3rd Bn., IV Mobile Strike Force Sept. 17, 1969 Chi Lang, Vietnam Led advance to recover a fallen sergeant and destroyed four enemy bunkers, while wounded. Pfc. Milton L. Olive III* 3rd Plt., B Co., 2nd Bn., 503rd Inf. Regt., 173rd Abn. Bde. October 22, 1965 Phu Cuong, Vietnam Threw himself on enemy grenade to protect fellow troops. Capt. Riley Pitts* C Co., 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., 25th Inf. Div. Oct. 31, 1967 Ap Dong, Vietnam Threw himself on grenade that did not explode. Pitts was later killed in the battle.
Lt. Col. Charles C. Rogers 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt. Nov. 1, 1968 Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam Led soldiers to defend a forward fire support base, while wounded. 1st Lt. Ruppert L. Sargent* B Co., 4th Bn., 9th Inf. Regt., 25th Inf. Div. March 15, 1967 Hau Nghia Province, Vietnam Threw himself on two enemy grenades, saving lives of fellow troops. Spec. 5 Clarence E. Sasser^ 3rd Bn., 60th Inf. Regt., 9th Inf. Div. Jan. 10, 1968 Ding Tuong Province, Vietnam While wounded, faced enemy fire while treating wounded troops. Staff Sgt. Clifford C. Sims* D Co., 2nd Bn., 501st Inf. Regt., 101st Abn. Div. Feb. 21, 1968 Hue, Vietnam Threw himself on a booby trap, saving fellow troops. 1st Lt. John E. Warren Jr.* C Co., 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf. Regt., 25th Inf. Div. Jan. 14, 1969 Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam Threw himself on an enemy grenade, saving fellow troops.
Gunnery Sgt. John L. Canley^ Alpha Co., 1st Bn., 1st Marines Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 1968 Hue, Vietnam Led attacks against the enemy and faced enemy fire to carry wounded Marines to safety. Sgt. Rodney M. Davis* 2nd Plt., Bravo Co., 1st Bn., 5th Marines, 1st Marine Div. Sept. 6, 1967 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam Threw himself on an enemy grenade, saving fellow troops. Pfc. Robert H. Jenkins Jr.* Charlie Co., 3rd Reconnaissance Bn., 3rd Marine Div. March 5, 1969 Quang Tri Province, Vietnam Threw himself on a fellow Marine to shield him from enemy grenade. Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson* Alpha Co., 1st Reconnaissance Bn., 1st Marine Div. March 5, 1968 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam Threw himself on an enemy grenade, saving a fellow Marine.
Pfc. James Anderson Jr.* 2nd Plt., Fox Co., 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Div. Feb. 28, 1967 Cam Lo, Vietnam Threw himself on an enemy grenade, saving fellow troops. Pfc. Oscar P. Austin* Echo Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div. Da Nang, Vietnam Feb. 23, 1969 Threw himself on an enemy grenade, saving a fellow Marine.
Pfc. Milton L. Olive III Medal of Honor receipt 1965.
SCOUT OF THE YEAR Program
WHAT IS THE SCOUT OF THE YEAR PROGRAM? Annually, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States awards three individuals who are: Eagle Scouts, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, Venture Summit Award recipients and/or Sea Scout Quartermasters who have risen above their peers in exemplifying the qualities of that rank. Awards are as follows: $5,000 1st place National scholarship $3,000 2nd place National scholarship $1,000 3rd place National scholarship
Official Entry Form
SCOUT OF THE YEAR Program
MUST BE COMPLETED BY EACH CONTESTANT and submitted directly to a VFW post in your community.
AM I ELIGIBLE? To be eligible for the award, the candidate must: Be the recipient of the Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout • Gold Award, Venture Summit Award or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award. Be a registered, active member of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, • Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship at the time the above reward was received. Have demonstrated exemplary citizenship in school, • Scouting and community. Prior National Scout of the Year winners are ineligible. There is no minimum age requirement for applicants as long as all other eligibility criteria has been met. The maximum age requirement for applicants is 18 years old. If an applicant reaches their 18th birthday during the nomination year, they remain eligible as long as they are still in high school at the time of the submission deadline. A Scout may enter through only one VFW Post. A local Post can be identified by zip code at vfw.org/FindaPost.
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES? • Deadline for entry to VFW Post is March 1. One candidate with full entry criteria must be submitted by a VFW Post to the •nenext level of judging by April 1. The VFW Department Scouting chchairman can provide this information.
The Department winner must be selected and submitted by their Department •(stScouting chairman to the VFW National Headquarters by May 1.
Name: First, M.I., Last
City, State, Zip (
Home Phone _____________________________
Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
Scout Troop Number
I hereby certify that the foregoing information is accurate and if I am the winner, I will make myself available to receive the award at a presentation ceremony as designated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. _____________________________________
I hereby certify that the above-named Scout/Venture is an active member of our unit or was when the award was received and the information supplied by the candidate is accurate to the best of my knowledge. _____________________________________
I hereby certify that all information on this application is correct. I willingly submit this name for consideration as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States' Scout of the Year. If this individual is selected as the winner, I will ensure that he/she is allowed to attend a presentation ceremony as designed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. _____________________________________
Father, Mother or Guardian Signature
For a downloadable version of this form click here.
UNIT LEADER'S CERTIFICATION
Unit Leader's Signature
Questions should be directed to 816.756.3390, ext 6155. during normal business hours Monday through Friday or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED? The following documentation should be submitted:
SCOUT OF THE YEAR Program
VFW DEPARTMENT SCOUTING CHAIRMAN
Photograph of the Scout — must be attached to this form. The Scout must appear in correct, complete uniform for their current rank. Recommended size 3" x 5".
School Participation Record — a single page, one- sided resume of the candidate’s school activities indicating academic achievements, offices held, honors received and significant participation in other activities. Scouting Record — maximum of three pages, one side only, listing of all Scouting participation beginning with Cub Scouts or Brownies - years of participation, unit numbers and sponsors. Also include when Eagle, Gold, Summit or Quartermaster Award was received and Palms. Identify leadership positions held at all levels, participation in Scouting activities (jamborees, Order of the Arrow conferences, etc.) and the candidate’s Eagle Scout, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venture Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster Project.
Community Service Record — a single page, one -sided resume listing participation in community and religious service organizations (excluding Scouting and school), noting leadership positions held and any recognition received.
Letters of Recommendation — Submit three letters, no more than two pages in length from:
PHONE: ____________________________ SPONSORING VFW POST POST NUMBER: ______________________
• A scout leader.
• A teacher/faculty member (if homeschooled, a parent letter is allowed).
• A community member.
• In addition, you may include one or two additional letters, no more than two pages in length from local community members who have special knowledge of the candidate's abilities/accomplishments.
POST COMMANDER'S SIGNATURE: ____________________________________
IF APPLICABLE, CHECK WITH THE VFW DEPARTMENT SCOUTING CHAIRMAN
DISTRICT #: _________________________ DISTRICT CDR.: ______________________
Completed Entry Form – submitted to a local VFW Post. Local Posts can be identified by zip code at vfw.org/FindaPost.
WHO MAKES UP THE VFW SCOUTING TEAM? The backbone of Scouting in the VFW is the VFW Scouting Team. These VFW members are deeply involved in Scouting, most with decades of experience. Appointed by their Department Commander, they are responsible for promoting scouting in their state. They are available to encourage Posts to sponsor units, support units and individual Scout projects. They should be the Department’s “expert” on all phases of scouting. Many Departments have multiple members of the VFW Scouting Team, but every Department should have at least one individual to promote the values of scouting to youth and to the VFW itself. For more information on the VFW Scouting Team call 816.756.3390, ext 6155, or email email@example.com
MUST BE COMPLETED BY DEPARTMENT VFW SCOUTING CHAIRMAN OR DEPT. COMMANDER
SIGNATURE: ____________________________________ Revised 10/2019
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