Our Ambassadorial Scholar on trip to Mexico
Brooke Stearns Lawson
World Peace and Ambassadorial Scholar
Mt Wilson Observatory
Elliott Turner & Friends
Mortages - Part II
League of Women Voters on November Propositions
WVRC-Auxiliary Summer Picnic, Eloise Siskel's home
District Breakfast - LAX Westin Hotel
Paul Harris Celebration, Medieval Times
Joint Meeting with Santa Monica Rotary Club
MAJOR DAVID KRAMER at WVRC on August 21st.
MIKE YOUSEM led the Pledge. PP STEVE SCHERER provided the Invocation:
“Dear Lord, we thank you for allowing us to be a member of Rotary, and we ask this food be blessed as we strive towards the Rotary Goal of Service Above Self.” Good job, STEVE.
We had two Visiting Rotarians. Alonzo Hill is with the FBI, and he belongs to the Santa Monica Club. Bob Berman is with the Rotary Club of Jackson, Miss, and his classification is PDG, which he claims means Prestige Done Gone. He is also the Father-in-Law of MARK BLOCK. Bob’s wife was with him, along with MARJORIE BLOCK and their son, Jordan. MARIE ROLF was with us again always good to see you, MARIE! Our Rotaract President, NIKKOLE VALDEZ, brought along Robert Ochs. PP STEVE SCHERER had JR DZUBAK’S Special Guest, Patricia Oliver, who has TWO degrees from UCLA a BA and a JD she has been with us before.
The Head Table was introduced. MARK KRAUSE reminded us that he is the Senior Minister at Westwood Hills Christian Church, located at the corner of Hilgard and LeConte. Their non-denominational Sunday service is at 10 a.m. and their oldest member is none other than our own HENRY TSENG! PEGGY BLOOMFIELD allowed as how she was collecting contributions for John McCain’s campaign. If you would like to meet him in person next Monday evening, give her a ring. Note it will cost you big bucks!
ELLIOTT TURNER provided his Inspirational Moment, as follows: Three women died on the same day, and went up to Heaven together. St. Peter met them at the gate, and pointed out that they only have one rule here in Heaven- “Don’t Step On The Ducks”. The place was overrun with ducks, and they were hard to avoid. The first woman stepped on one the first day. St. Peter showed up, accompanied by the ugliest man she had ever seen. “Your punishment for stepping on a duck is you will spend eternity chained to this ugly man”. The next day, the second woman accidentally stepped on a duck and along came St. Peter. With him is another really ugly man and the same admonishment, chained for eternity, etc. The third woman is doubly careful, of course, and manages to avoid all the ducks. One day St. Peter approaches, accompanied by the most handsome man she has ever seen very tall, long eyelashes, muscular wow! They are chained together, and she wonders out loud, “I wonder what I ever did to be chained to such a handsome man for all eternity?” The man says, “I don’t know about you, but I stepped on a duck”.
The Birthday Kiddos were then summoned. First up was KACY ROZELLE, and his choice was none other than the 1st of August, in Basking Ridge, NJ. YOE Hisself
was next, claiming Los Angeles on the 11th. And the next two also chose LA, JACK HARRIS on the 13th and DAN PRICE on the 16th. MARK BLOCK liked the 25th, in Passaic NJ, and that was OK with LENORE MULRYAN, but she liked Lompoc. Alas, only three of us YOE, HARRIS & BLOCK, made a live appearance. However, LENNY led us all in Happy Birthday, and then we got to sign the bookplates for the Library.
While the signing was going on, I spoke about the American Institute of Philanthropy. They issue a periodical report on how effective the various charities are in using their income wisely. The grades range from A to F and you may be surprised at how badly some of our well-known charities perform. An example of a very-well-regarded group is our own Salvation Army they get an A, every time! You can write them to request a copy their address is American Institute of Philanthropy, P.O. Box 578460, Chicago, IL 60657 8460, (773) 520-2300 or www.charitywatch.org. I have found their advice has saved me some money, and I certainly recommend you ask for their triannual publication. There is a voluntary annual charge, and their motto is Helping Donors Give Wisely.
PP STEVE DAY came forward to present a Paul Harris Fellowship. These awards were established in 1957, and they form the major basis for the charitable giving of Rotary International funding of our Ambassadorial Scholars, Polio PLLUS, our Matching Grants really, all the good things that Rotary provides. A contribution of $1,000 is required, and you can tell from the subjects listed that the money is very well spent.
Our honoree was JORDAN BLOCK, oldest son of MARK and MARJORIE, and they, along with Grandparents Bob and Sondy Beamon, assisted with the pinning on of the badge and hanging of the medallion. A lovely ceremony, and well done.
It was announced that ANGELE NEWMAN’S father passed away last Friday after a long illness. He was 97 years old. Eagle Eye SEAN spotted a couple of serious miscreants (I think that means they were suspected of nefarious activity and that in turn translates into their being at the very least a detriment to society). The two known criminals turned out to be KEVIN BADKOUBEHI (no pin, five-buck fine) and PP BOB WESSLING (who PURCHASED, for fifty bucks, time to further elucidate us regarding DePauw. He wanted us to know that his University has about 2800 students, is located in Greencastle, Indiana, and is also the Alma Mater (that means they graduated there) of JUDY WESSLING, BEN SCHERER and, in an attempt at evenhandedness, Dan Quayle. As the year develops, we may yet hear more about this venerable institution, founded in 1842. Stay tuned. (And in my never-ceasing effort to be entirely not only accurate but without any blemish or bias, I must report that President SEAN noted that henceforth such paid political announcements will be limited to 30 to 60 seconds of exposure).
Significant Irish History, as chosen by SEAN: We need to know that the Donnybrook Fair took place on an annual basis beginning back in 1204, and that it was foreclosed (my word) on the same date as our meeting today, August 21st, but in 1855. It seems that this long-regretted affair had become the scene of drunken and disorderly Irishmen cavorting in a notorious and violent way, and the city fathers finally said enough was enough. This is also the origin of the word donnybrook, meaning a brawl or fracas. (Truly, tales such as this tug at the very strings of my heart, and I only hope I won’t break down in recalling them to those others who are unfortunate in not having heard them before).
One last announcement: You are familiar with our successful association with Angel Flight. Several of our members donate their time, aircraft, and knowledge to flying patients into local hospitals in the LA area. As you know, SEAN McMILLAN got this started, and he, along with LEE DUNAYER, and BILL EDWARDS have provided this very useful service. Those who transport the patients after they arrive are organized by LEAH VRIESMAN, as Chair of Community Service. The drivers include LEAH, MARK ROGO, JR DZUBAK, PP DON NELSON, PEGGY BLOOMFIELD, and YOE. This all takes place in cooperation with Santa Monica Rotary, and at present they cover the majority of the flights. Angel Flight is planning an Open House on Tuesday Sept 9th, from 4 to 5:30 at their Santa Monica Airport location. Plan on dropping in to see their facilities and you might get the itch to join the Earth Angels team, of course.
PEGGY BLOOMFIELD introduced our Speaker, Major David Kramer. He graduated from West Point in 1992 with a BA in Math, and has an MA in Science from Central Michigan University. Kramer is married and has an 11-year old stepson. He has served in widely different geographic areas, including South Korea, Bosnia and the two subjects of his report today, Iraq and Afghanistan. Major Kramer is a qualified helicopter pilot, having flown support and combat missions in both these last two destinations. He holds the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Kramer’s report was supported by a large number of color slides and PEGGY operated the projector while he spoke. This is his first ROTC command, and he spent part of this summer in training for the assignment. In addition to the UCLA Unit, he commands the Cal State Northridge contingent. His experience is as an Aviation Operations Officer. Thus, this is not a report on the situation on the ground, since his duties included delivery of supplies and combat support from the air, where he has flown over 100 hours of combat duty.
He split his time between Iraq and Afghanistan and his first photo shows him bidding goodbye to his Mother in 2005. It was reminiscent of his Father’s departure for Vietnam some 37 years ago. You will recall the phrase, The Band of Brothers that’s the First Airborne Division in Iraq. Their area of operation was about the size of Ohio. Their one Aviation Brigade supported up to five infantry brigades, using as many as 150 aircraft, depending on the situation. They operated in the north of Iraq, next to Turkey, Syria and Iran. They called themselves, Expect No Mercy, 1st battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.
He pictured a Combat Patch Ceremony. This Combat Patch is placed on the right shoulder, and cannot be worn unless the bearer has seen at least thirty days of combat. The patch showing their unit is worn on the left shoulder, and his now indicates ROTC duty. As a staff officer, his primary function was to coordinate operations, to support ground troops, and provide security for helicopters that were moving ground troops. He thus was not allowed to fly as much as he wanted to in an Apache this time was mainly saved for the “line dogs’ that were flying the actual missions.
One of their traditions is to serve the combat troops Thanksgiving Dinner involving about four hundred men. He spoke about re-enlistment, showing a photo in the combat zone. The troops know the schedule of incentive pay for re-enlistment, and it takes place in combat zones quite frequently. He described the continuing ordeal of a 43-year old Lt. Colonel who was flying between locations a hundred miles apart, almost on a daily basis.
His need was to keep up with the combat situation in two locations, and that is a very tough load. Kramer traveled with the Infantry in Kalifar, joining them in a fortified Humvee as they circled within the city this gave him a clearer idea of what conditions are on the ground. All these troops needs to be supported with food, water, and ammunition, and it is a constant need. Kramer carries an American Flag given to him by his Father, on every flight.
He showed an aerial gunners view of the terrain in Iraq hills of less than a thousand feet, with desert beyond. This is much, much different from operations in Afghanistan, where the mountains reach over 12,000 feet. Their special training to handle the differences in flight control were extremely valuable. The biggest problem in Iraq was the heat. They maintain close contact with the Fire Departments his own brother is in one of those units.
The units are visited by celebrities not only performers, but famous athletes, and the troops get a big rush out of these visits. He then introduced the idea of what I heard as “Flat Stanley”. This is a comic doll, and they place FS in various scenes, to give the children back home an idea of where they are and what they are doing. There is an occasional Fund Raiser the illustration was a seated officer with a soldier nearby holding a large lemon meringue pie! As Kramer pointed out, as senior officers they sometimes make unpopular decisions hence the fundraisers! The funds collected are used for company comforts. The photos ended with a number of shots of terrain in Afghanistan, and it is totally different from Iraq, as we can now understand.
Q&A How large is a battalion? About 400 in Aviation, about 600 in Infantry. How much interaction do you have with the local people? In Aviation, almost none. We support the ground guys that do that. If you went into Kabul, did you see the city?
No, we stayed in the camps the only time I left was when I was in the Humvee with the ground troops. LENNY asked the last question about the unmanned helicopters, and they are very useful. Major David Kramer, Thank You for your excellent report!
I’m away the next two weeks, so on the 28th you will have ED JACKSON as your reporter, and on September 4th, PP RON LYSTER. My thanks to both for stepping in.
Final Words of Wisdom (why not to engage with SEAN, that is). Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level, and then best you with their experience!