Veterans corner

Houston’s Independence Day Parade on July 2 was accompanied by American Legion Post 41’s Freedom-Dog giveaway at the Lone Star Plaza.

According to our finance officer, we gave away over 600 hot dogs during the parade and at the fairgrounds after the parade.
Meanwhile, a large detachment of U.S. military medical personnel of the South Central Missouri Wellness Mission were present in Houston to provide medical and dental support to the public, free of charge. Starting on June 29 and ending on July 8, they performed basic medical and wellness exams, dental exams with fillings and extractions, and eyeglass prescriptions. They helped more than 500 patients during their mission here. 

Incidentally, some of our Post 41 officers encountered some of the Army guys shopping for picnic supplies at Walmart after the parade, and offered them some of our leftover hot dogs. They seemed happy to accept a case of 100 high-quality franks and buns to match. Their barbecue picnic was probably on the Fourth of July, their day off.
Here’s a little bit of World War II history:  The last duty station in my Navy career was Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif. During the war, this small air base in Southern California was host to a secret weapon program: Bat Bombers!

The plan was to gather hundreds of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats, load each one with a lightweight incendiary bomb and release them over Japan at night. The bats would go to roost in various wooden buildings and cause them to burn.


The first test was done over the California desert; the bombs were too heavy and the dozen test bats went straight down.

The next test had limited success. With lighter bombs, the test-bats could fly just fine – right back to the base! They burned down Hangar One and destroyed the commanding officer’s car! 

The remaining bats were released and the program was cancelled when the first atomic bomb burst over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. 

Veterans organizations in Texas County:
•American Legion Post 41 meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the meeting hall on the west end of Chilton Oil Company in Houston (just north of Pizza Hut). Changes to membership eligibility now allow U.S. veterans of all branches and periods of service to join the American Legion.
•Fleet Reserve Association Branch 364 meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the American Legion Post 41 meeting hall in Houston. The FRA exists to serve all veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard.

•Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 473 meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at its meeting mall on U.S. 63 north of Cabool.

•Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 6337 in Licking meets at 5:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the meeting hall on Main Street just south of Highway 32. 

Houston resident Robert E. Simpson is a retired U.S. Navy chief electronics technician who served from 1969 to 1990. Email

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