One of our Marines has left us.
Jerry Wildhaber was our Post Historian, a long-time member, and twice Past-Commander of American Legion Post 41. He was 81.
As a Marine, Jerry had been part of the crew of Marine One, the President’s own helicopter. Please read the tribute to Jerry in the Houston Herald issue of Feb. 15, 2023. His passing leaves a gap in our membership that will be hard to fill; it will take another Marine to do it. We don’t have enough Marines.
Planning for Armed Forces Appreciation Day is on track. This year, the theme is “Service to Veterans.” Service officers from all county, state and national veterans’ organizations will hopefully be gathered in one place to answer questions about veterans benefit programs , health support, family-related benefits, financial assistance and anything else related to military service. We hope to have Texas County Health Department personnel on hand to test vital signs and answer medical questions.
Grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, assorted chips and water will be available to veterans and their families through the whole event. We’re still in the early planning stages and will keep you posted.
Armed Forces Appreciation Day is set for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 20.
At 2:30 p.m. this Friday (Feb. 24), the American Legion Color Guard will present the Colors at the Grand Opening of the West Plains Bank branch on Sam Houston Blvd. in Houston. We hope to see you there.
Another Sea Story (remember, I’m an old sailor!):
Back in 1982, our little ship was in port at San Diego, Calif., for a total paint job. At the Ship-Repair Facility, the USS Quapaw’s hull had been completely stripped of old faded paint and was freshly coated with new purple primer. Suddenly, we received orders to leave port and recover a crashed Navy helicopter from three fathoms of water just off the coast. We’d been picked because we were the only available ship that could operate in that shallow an area.
Reaching the crash site, we anchored and began rigging the World War II seaplane boom to lift the helicopter clear of the water. While we were hoisting, the 40-year-old winch motor burned out; the helicopter was still full of seawater and couldn’t be drained (it was far too heavy)! So we sailed back into San Diego harbor with our purple hull and dragging an H-3 helicopter through the water on the starboard side – in broad daylight!
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. His columns are posted online at www.houstonherald.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.