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A mural representing all five branches of the military was painted on the back wall of American Legion Post 121 in Watsonville. On Sunday at 2:00 pm following the AL District Meeting held in the adjoining Veterans Memorial, their will be an outside dedication of the mural. The VFW Honor Guard was asked by Legion Commander John Carrera to participate in the dedication ceremonies. We will be providing three rifle volleys with the playing of TAPS following. Folling the dedication, everyone is invited inside Legion Post 121. For additional information, contact; American Legion Post 121 Cmdr John Carrera @ 831-212-6019 e-mail: JCarreraSr47@yahoo.com
Every year Aromas Elementary School has a Veterans Day Assembly. This year is it at 8:30 am in the Activities Building. Parents and veterans are invited. This year we have Girl Scout Chloe and her brother Boy Scout Nick participating with the Honor Guard in Posting and retiring the colors. Leading and trailing the 4 man squad will be members of the honor Guard with the scouts carrying the colors. Cpt Jack Kelly will be on bugle with Call to Colors signaling the squad to the stage with the flags. There will be the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. After school children sing, dance and do patriotic skits. Near the end, all veterans are asked to stand when their military songs is sang. After all veterans present are presented special gifts from the students. The closing ceremonies include retiring of the colors and the playing of TAPS.
HONOR GUARD VETERANS DAY ACTIVITIES - Nov 11th, 2009 On Veterans Day, Wednesday November 11th, the VFW Freedom Post1716 Honor Guard will be traveling to 6 locations about Freedom and Watsonville performing Veteran Day tributes with Veterans Prayer, ceremonial bugle calls and rifle salutes. 8:30 a.m. HG meets at VFW Freedom Post 1716. (1) 9:00 a.m. VFW Freedom Post 1716 Flag Pole (2) 9:20 a.m. Pinto Lake County Park - Viet Nam Memorial (on Green Valley Road) (3) 9:45 a.m. Watsonville’s Nisei Memorial Flag Pole, Watsonville City Water Operations Yard, 1521 Freedom Blvd (near Blanca) (4) 10:00 a.m. Watsonville WWII War Memorial, corner of Freedom Blvd & Main St. (5) 10:120a.m. Watsonville Civic Plaza, Main St (near E. Beach) (6) 11:00 a.m. Watsonville Veterans Day Program at Watsonville Veterans Memorial Bldg, Veterans Day Program. 215 E. Beach St, (Firing and Taps at end of program)
On October 12th, Cpt Kleinsmith stepped down and transfered his leadership of the team to Jack Kelly. Jack Kelly has been a member of the Post honor guard for over ten years. With the encouragement of Cpt Kleinsmith, the acceptance of the team, having more time available, and wishing to take a more active role with the Honor Guard, Jack was appointed by the Post Cmdr as Active Captain of the Post Honor Guard effective October 12, 2009. Cpt Kleinsmith has been searching for his replacement for the past two years because his volunteer time was becoming more and more limited due to family commitments. Comrade Kleinsmith has been performing military funeral honors for veterans on a VFW Honor Guard Team since 1991. Joe Kleinsmith is a two time All State Past Commander, a Past County Council Commander, and became the Active honor guard Captain over 5 years ago when Cpt Bill Rolls chose to step down and be placed on the teams "Advisor Retired Reserve List" with other Past Honor Guard Captains. Joe Kleinsmith will remain on the teams "Retired Reserve List" as Cpt and Advisor, available to answer questions, sharing his 20 plus years of funeral honors experience and knowledge (military & VFW), and share the detailed Honor Guard SOP he established. It is because of CPT Kleinsmiths comradeship, dedication to this team that this change of Leadership, the operation of the team, and mission requests has become a smooth transition. To request the participation of the Honor Guard, information regarding funeral honors, or to joint the team; contact Cpt. Jack Kelly 831-207-9478 and Lt. Sal Beltran 831-566-9983 e-mail: SalomeBeltran@yahoo.com. For more information about military funeral honors, please visit http://vfwwebcom.org/ca/Post1716HonorGuard/
Our primary mission is Honoring Those Who Served. The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the Nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful Nation can provide to its veterans families. Members of this Honor Guard have been honoring fallen veterans for over fifteen years, like their fallen honor guard comrades before them. For years this Honor Guard remained and continues to be the only established veterans honor guard within the county of Santa Cruz. We have traveled as far north as San Bruno, east to Hollister, and south to Pacific Grove. Besides cemeteries and mortuaries, we have provided military honors in various locations to include churches, the sea shore, on boats, in back yards, at parks, community centers, and Lodges. Beginning in January 2007, this Honor Guard became a member of The Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3) established by the Department of Defense (DoD) for the benefit of US Military Commanders who have the responsibility of providing Military Funeral Honors to active duty Soldiers, retirees, and veterans. While our primary duty is to assist the Military Funeral Honors Team and provide the Firing Party, VFW Post 1716 Honor Guards secondary mission extends to Presenting the Colors at the VFW, welcoming dignitaries to the VFW, marching in parades, teaching students how to fold the flag, presenting the colors, firing salutes, and participating in school, scouting, and community patriotic ceremonies and assemblies, and honoring our veterans on patriotic holidays throughout the county of Santa Cruz. This Honor Guard does not and has never charged for any services it performs. This Honor Guard was never financially supported by its Post, but that changed in November 2009 when the Post voted to transfer the Honor Guards funds to the Posts General Funds. Over the years this Honor Guard has been recognized for its community service and Americanism. The members are all dedicated volunteers, For what we do, comes from the heart. This is the motto of our Honor Guard.
To request the participation of the Honor Guard or information regarding funeral honors, contact Cpt. Jack Kelly 831-207-9478 and Lt. Sal Beltran 831-566-9983 e-mail: SalomeBeltran@yahoo.com.
The Honor Guard does not receive any financial support from the state or military. Donations to "VFW Post 1716 Honor Guard" are always welcome but not a factor in a veterans receiving Military Honors, for "What we do, Comes from the heart!" Our Honor Guard members are dedicated volunteers who purchase their own shoes, pants, ribbons and white shirt just to be a member, not to forget fuel and vehicle expenses. With fund raisers and donations, the Honor Guard members maintains its uniforms items, equipment and supplies. The team still needs to acquire rifle slings, replace some berets, refinish the rifles, and would like to get a collection of military flags (all 5 branches, POW and Old Glory with staffs and covers) to be used at funerals and patriotic assemblies. All donations are tax deductible and ask they be made out to "VFW Post 1716 HONOR GUARD". P.O. Box 716, Freedom, CA 95019. Letters of appreciation with our Tax ID number are mailed to all our supporters.
The practice of firing three rifle volleys over the grave originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each army had cleared their dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and that they were ready to fight again. The fact that a full firing party consists of seven riflemen, firing these volleys does not constitute a 21-gun-salute. It is the three volleys that are significant, not the number of rifles. Three volleys fired over the casket have become a tradition to mean the dead have been cared for. It has evolved into a military salute for the deceased serving their country. Firing the three volleys over the casket is one of the highest honors to give a deceased military veteran. Our nation’s highest honor is a flag draped over the casket, folded and presented. It was tradition to place three spent shell casings inside the folded flag to prove now and forevermore that the deceased and his flag have had proper military honors. Nothing else is to be placed inside the flag.
Sometimes both the military and the VFW Honor Guard get short notice requests. When that happens we improvise and adapt to ensure veterans receive their final salute. We already had a funeral scheduled for Friday in Watsonville at 1 pm at Pajaro Cemetery. On Thursday afternoon around 4 pm we received two more requests for Friday from the Army. Time and travel did not permit us to participate with a service at 2 pm in Felton. The ARNG was able to make that commitment but was unable to make another commitment in Felton at 11 am due to receiving less than a 24 hour notice and manpower shortages. A full detail was meeting a KIA at the airport. Our VFW Honor Guard was able to pick-up the service in Felton for the Army and performed an aisle of honor, rifle salute, Taps, folded the flag and presented the flag to the veterans mother. At the 1 pm service at Pajaro, the Marines were also stretched a little thin and borrowed our Bugle to play Taps. Cpt Kleinsmith coordinated and officiated that service as Chaplain. Our VFW Honor Guard stands ready to augment and assist military commanders in providing military funeral honors for our heroes.
When we fire our M-1 rifles, the brass flies through the air and twinkles on the road or hides itself in the grass and flowers. We always police up our brass for safety reasons. We do not want children playing with them, someone slipping and falling by stepping on one, nor a lawnmower picking one up and ejecting it as a projectile. It is our policy that when performing military honors, the brass is not collected until after the flag has been presented to the family. All brass is placed in a small zip lock bag and presented to the family as a memento of this service by the honor guard Captain or lieutenant. We suggest to the family that they may wish to polish and engrave the loved ones name and date upon them and make them a special gift for someone special or place them in a shadowbox.
The VFW 1716 Honor Guard this Memorial Day remembered and honored veterans beginning @ 7:45 a.m. at our Post Flag Pole, and visited the Watsonville Nisei Memorial Flag Pole, the Watsonville WWII War Memorial, the Watsonville Veterans Memorial Bldg, Watsonville Civic Plaza flag pole on Main Street, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Pinto Lake County Park on Green Valley Road. At each of these locations a prayer was said, three rifle volleys were fires, taps was played, and Old Glory was lowered to half staff. Upon our return to the Post, we all gathered in the club and toasted the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States and placed the security of our Nation before their own safety, honoring those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Many veterans choose burial at sea. The U.S. Navy Burial at Sea Program accepts casketed remains and cremains of all veterans. Eligibility: Individuals eligible for this program are: (1) active duty members of the uniformed services; (2) retirees and veterans who were honorably discharged. (3) U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command; and (4) dependent family members of active duty personnel, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services. The committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. Therefore, civilian family members are not allowed to be present. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony notifies the family of the date, time, and, longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. For more information contact the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office toll-free at 1-888-647-6676, and select option 4 or go to: www.navy.mil/navydata/questions/burial.html#BAS Also NAVPERS 15555D Navy Military Funerals at: http://buperscd.technology.navy.mil/bup_updt/upd_CD/BUPERS/FUNERALS/15555d.pdf Also San Francisco - USN Scattering at Sea, at: www.geocities.com/sfscattering/eligible.html
VA DEPENDENT BURIAL: The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran is eligible for interment in a National Cemetery/State Veterans Cemetery of her choice even IF that veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. In addition, the spouse or surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial. The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who had a subsequent remarriage to a non-veteran and whose death occurred on or after 1 JAN 2000, is also eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her marriage to the eligible veteran. However, a former spouse of an eligible individual whose marriage to that individual has been terminated by annulment or divorce, if not otherwise eligible, is not eligible for interment in a national cemetery. Minor children of eligible veterans are eligible. For purpose of burial in a national cemetery, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and: (a) Who is under 21 years of age; or (b) Who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution. (c) Of any age but became permanently physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before reaching 21 years of age, or before reaching 23 years of age if pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational Institution. Proper supporting documentation must be provided. Provided certain conditions are met, a former member of the Armed Forces may be buried, if desired, in the same grave with a close relative who is already buried and is the primary eligible. [Source: www.cem.va.gov/cem/bbene/eligible.asp#remarry Jan07]
The Captain of our team receives requests for services routinely, but none are routine. The Captain coordinates closely with the military, funeral directors, cemetery directors, and families. Far too many times family members from outside our county and state are not counseled properly regarding what entitlements are available upon the death of a veteran. This is what we did for Mrs. Janet Hagstrand of Arizona. Her husband Jon donated parts his body to medical science and after was cremated. There was no funeral director involved. Capt. K counseled Janet regarding entitlements and how to attain them. Janet got Jons flag in Arizona, visited the county veterans service officer, and flew out to California. Janet contacted the US Navy to schedule their scattering her husbands ashes, got the necessary death certificates and DD Form 214, and submitted her requests for a VA memorial niche plaque and Presidential Memorial Certificates. Memorial services were planned to be at a beach vacation house. The Capt. got Jons obituary published in the Sentinel newspaper, coordinated the Army to perform funeral honors, the participation of Patriot Guard Riders, and the participation of our team to fire 3 volleys. The services were held in the front yard along E. Cliff Drive and 35th in Pleasure Point of Santa Cruz along the ocean. The Army in their dress blues ceremoniously marched in carrying Jon;s urn and folded flag, They placed them down on a table next to his picture. Then the Patriot Guard Riders following behind carrying 4x6 US flags that fluttered in the ocean breeze and positioned themselves in a line along the roadway as security. Capt K wrote the eulogy and officiated the memorial services as Chaplain. The State ARNG funeral team in their dress blues unfolded and refolded the flag. Sal Betran directed the team in firing of three ceremonial volleys and it sounded excellent. A passerby got out of his van stopping all traffic on E. Cliff Drive and saluted during the playing of taps [live] by the Army. It could not of been planned better or more beautiful. Following the service, Janet Hagstrand and her family thanked and welcomed everyone to a barbecue in the backyard to celebrate her husbands life. We had cheeseburgers, dogs, dip, salad and drinks. It was great visiting with the family, SFC Beltram of the ARNG, and members of the Patriot Guard with their motorcycles. This was the first time the Patriot Guard was part of a service we participated in and their presence was the icing to the cake.
Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Veterans who plan ahead and have their military separation papers with their important documents makes things less stressful on the family. Veterans and their family members can request copies of the veterans Military Records and also issuance/replacement of military awards and decorations. This can be done thru the mail or on line. For guidance, visit: Military Records: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html Awards and Decorations: www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/replacement-medals.html
Sadly many family members of veterans are not informed they are entitled to receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC). A PMC is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President; to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. Administration: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the PMC program by preparing the certificates that bear the President’s signature expressing the country’s grateful recognition of the veteran’s service in the United States Armed Forces. Eligibility: Eligible recipients include the deceased veteran’s next of kin and loved ones. More than one certificate may be provided. Application: Eligible recipients, or someone acting on their behalf, may apply for a PMC in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail only. Requests cannot be sent via email. There is no form to use when requesting a PMC. Please be sure to enclose a copy of the veteran's discharge and death certificate. Please submit copies only, as we cannot return original documents. If you would like to request a Presidential Memorial Certificate, or if you requested one more than eight weeks ago and have not received it yet, we ask that you either: (1) Fax your request and all supporting documents (copy of discharge and death certificate) to: (202) 565-8054, or (2) Mail your request and all supporting documents using either the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial mail service, such as one of the overnight or express mail delivery services, to: Presidential Memorial Certificates (41A1C), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Road, Quantico, VA 22134-3903 If you have any questions about a certificate you have received, a request you have already sent in, or about the program in general, you may call (202) 565-4964. More information at: www.cem.va.gov/cem/pmc.asp
The VA furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. When a government headstone is not requested for reasons of a private headstone or the deceased being cremated and not interred at a cemetery, the family can request at no charge from the VA a "Niche" - which is a small bronze marker. Some families choose to use the Nich as memorial dedication on things like a park bench and in their gardens at the base of a tree or flower planted in memory of the deceased. This Niche marker is 8 1/2 inches long, 5 1/2 inches wide, with 7/16 inch rise. The words "In Memory of" can be added to the niche at no cost. A Niche weighs approximately 3 pounds. Requests for headstones, markers, including the Nich are made using VA Form 40-1330. The funeral director or a Service Officer can assist with the application. www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/40-1330.pdf This site will show photos of markers and the niche available.
Monterey Bay Veterans Inc. (MBVI) owns and operates the Freedom, a 60 foot Pacifica vessel which may be used for spreading of ashes (with military funeral honors). Those wishing to schedule a trip are to call their office at (831) 646-9139 to see if the date requested is available. There is NO CHARGE for any veteran wishing to utilize this service. They do accept donations. MBVI and the boat are located at 32 #K Cannery Row in Monterey. www.mbv.org E-mail: email@example.com Note: MBVI will provide the boat but will not get involved in scheduling or coordinating funeral honors, that falls on the veterans family.
A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know." "You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?" The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing... I know my Master is there and that is enough."
The Honor Guard welcomes and salutes it newest member, Andy Telles. Andy recently joined our Post and is also retired military. Your Honor Guard is always looking for a few dedicated men and women, including Auxiliary who would like to join its ranks. Having the ability or strength to handle or carry a rifle is not necessary. We have positions and a need for flag bearers, flag folders, and riflemen, among other positions. We do more than just funerals and memorial services. One does not have to be retired to participate and be a member of the team, or have a vehicle. We have functions various days of the week including weekends, and receive requests with least a 48 hour notice. Are You Up To The Challenge? If your interested or need the services, contact Capt. K @ 831-588-5525 firstname.lastname@example.org
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty
mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the
students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was
The students responded with an unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured
the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space
between the sand.
The students laughed.
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your
family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if
everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house
and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If you put the sand
into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The
same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will
never have room for the things that are important to you.
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children . Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents.
Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the
golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.'
This day will begin at 6:30 a.m. with VFW Freedom Post 1716 volunteers setting out our Ave of Flags along both sides of Freedom Blvd, weather permitting. We expect the sun the break through allowing Adjutant Walker and fellow comrades to ride the antique red fire engine in the Veterans Day March down Main Street to the Veterans Memorial Building for the Veterans Day Program. * The VFW Post 1716 Honor Guard will begin at 8:00 a.m. performing numerous flag ceremonies throughout the city with rifle volleys and bugle calls and will be present to participate in the Veterans Day program at the Watsonville Veterans Memorial Building that starts at 11:00 a.m. VFW Post 1716 has the only established Veterans Honor Guard within the entire County of Santa Cruz. All military funeral honors, tributes, flag and patriotic services performed by the Honor Guard are at the request of organizations and families. The VFW Honor Guards primary duty and obligation is to provide military funeral honors with rifle team, flag folders, and taps for all veterans at no charge. Join the VFW 1716 Honor Guard this Veterans Day at: 8:00 a.m. Freedom VFW Post 1716, 1960 Freedom Blvd, Freedom * 8: 20 a.m. Pinto Lake County Park, Viet Nam Memorial, Green Valley Road, Watsonville * 8:45 a.m. Watsonville Nisei Memorial Flag Pole, Watsonville City Water Operations Yard, 1521 Freedom Blvd near Blanca * 8:55 a.m. Watsonville WWII War Memorial, corner of Freedom Blvd & Main St. * 9:15 a.m. Watsonville Civic Plaza, Main Street, Watsonville. * 10:00 a.m. Watsonville Veterans Parade * 11:00 a.m. Watsonville Veterans Memorial Bldg, 215 E. Beach St. Watsonville *
Honor Guard Cpt Joe represented our Post and attended the Monterey County Veteran Cemetery Citizens Advisory Committee in Marina on Thursday September 11th. If a foundation can raise $3.3 million by July 1, construction of our Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord, could begin the following October, according to state, Seaside and Monterey officials. The Cemetery CAC approved the final draft of the cemetery master plan being sent on to the Seaside City Council and Monterey County Board of Supervisors for approval. The master plan covers 178 acres at Fort Ord on either side of Parker Flats Road and Parker Flats Cutoff, divided into six areas including: > A 78.7 acre cemetery with two parcels of just over an acre each set aside for cemetery-related auxiliary uses: a veterans hall, facility parking, non-denominational chapel, cultural history museum, and amphitheater. > A 28.7-acre Endowment Parcel north of the cemetery that can be sold to raise the necessary $3.3 million for the endowment fund to pay for operation and maintenance of the cemetery. > A 1.7-acre site north of the cemetery, west of the endowment parcel is slated for future residential or commercial development. > A 15.5-acre area south of the cemetery is earmarked for development and habitat restoration. This cemetery has sufficient acreage for 100 years of burials excluding walled columbarium. The cemetery will be completed in phases. Phase 1 provides for the construction of the primary features; memorial plaza at the base of Artillery Hill paved with tiles bearing the names of donors, a columbarium, committal shelter, crypts, burial sites, scatter gardens for those who desire an alternative to traditional burial, administrative building, maintenance complex, and an entry wall ornamented with the seals of the five branches of our armed forces are part of the cemetery development plan. At the top of the Hill will be the Flag Plaza and a circular terrace for accommodation of the relocated Fort Ord Drill Sergeant Statue. Phase 1 construction will meet the projected need for twenty years of burials with the development of 20.5 acres. Using the current mix of 70% cremation and 30% full casket burials, the site will have 13,838 burials. The cemetery landscape design incorporates the VA mission of sustainability by using drought-tolerant native plantings and incorporating the natural oak woodlands and coastal scrub. In addition, minimum water usage for the Monterey Peninsula will be achieved through the use of decomposed granite or crushed rock atop burial areas. The land is already available. Funding to build it, BUT not to run it or keep it up, is available through a federal cemetery grants program. The state is eligible for a federal cemetery construction grant, BUT the federal government itself will not build it because the Fort Ord site is too close to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella to comply with current US Dept of Veterans Affairs policies for establishing cemeteries. Operation costs, though, would have to be funded locally through the foundation. The main source of foundation funding would be the land sales from the endowment parcel. Other money could come from private donations and bequests that would make the ancillary facilities possible. After the CAC meeting in Marina, State Secretary of Veteran Affairs Tom Johnson said that the state can only pursue building the cemetery if the endowment is funded. 4th Dist Supervisor Ila Mettee-McCutchon said, We have to have a commitment by 1 July. If the land in the endowment parcel can not be sold in time, she said, other entities could guarantee that fund until it is sold, and be reimbursed later. The campaign for a cemetery has been going on since 1996. The cemetery has a 100 year expansion potential. Said Jim Cook, Monterey Countys Redevelopment & Housing Director. Raising the money is the important next step. That a document has been approved for consideration by city and county officials means the project has taken a major step forward, he said. Current project target date for breaking ground is 2010, but it can be sooner. (CLICK on Comment )
The VFW 1716 Honor Guard this Memorial Day remembered and honored veterans beginning @ 6:40 a.m. at our Post Flag Pole, and @ 7:00 a.m. Watsonville Nisei Memorial Flag Pole, Watsonville City Water Operations Yard, 1521 Freedom Blvd near Blanca, and @ 7:20 a.m. Watsonville WWII War Memorial, corner of Freedom Blvd & Main St. and @ 7:40 a.m. Watsonville Veterans Memorial Bldg, 215 E. Beach St. Watsonville, and @ 8:00 a.m. Watsonville Civic Plaza, Main Street, near E. Beach St, Watsonville, and @ 8:35 a.m. Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Pinto Lake County Park on Green Valley Road, and @ 9:20 a.m. Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery, 1927 Ocean Street Ext, Santa Cruz, and @ 10:00 a.m. Evergreen Cemetery, Site of the Grand Army of the Republic, Evergreen Street (near Harvey West Park), Santa Cruz, and @ 11:45 a.m. Santa Cruz Elks Lodge #824 Memorial Day Program & BBQ, 150 Jewell Street (Off Ocean Street Ext), Santa Cruz.
: The VA has changed the regulation concerning the provision of a VA headstone or marker for a grave already marked in a private cemetery. As a result of passage of the Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act of 2007, the VA can now provide a headstone or marker for those graves already marked in a private cemetery for those Veterans who died after 1 NOV 90. The claimant must pay the cost of the installation of the Government headstone or marker in a private cemetery. Details of the new regulation can be read at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-10635.htm .
The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation with unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for Americas freedom and security. What they do comes from the heart and is FREE. You may have seen them leading a funeral procession with flags flying, or riding next to a limo blocking the view of protestors. Or maybe providing a human Avenue of Flags at a cemetery, or encircling a funeral or memorial service side by side with flags discouraging unwanted guests and blocking their view. Their main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes (Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, Retiree and Veterans) as invited guests of the family. Each mission they undertake has two basic objectives. 1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities. 2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors. This is accomplish through strictly legal and non-violent means. TO REQUEST their services or learn more about them visit: www.PatriotGuard.org To see a video of them paying tribute to a fallen soldier among protesters visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwigMTjup70 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWhpA9MrkPw
Over the years many of our guard members have passed away and chose to be laid to rest in their VFW Honor Guard uniform. They include Capt. Billy Culbert, Hap Sonora, Santana Nobel, Rusty Eddy, Bill Kleinsmith, Capt. Nels Mangan, Chap. Bob Bunnell, Domingo Galvin, Matias (Chief) Soto, Capt. Nic Bragg, and Capt. Leo (Bud) Decker. The other members of our Honor Guard who have passed on are Jim Gwenn, James (Jimbo) McPherson, and Leonard Adams. God bless them all.
Our Honor Guard prepares for the unexpected and extemporizes for the unexpected. I remember attending the graveside services of a long time friend in Watsonville. I personally made the request and received a confirmation for a funeral honors detail with the Casualty Memorial Office at DLI on the Presidio of Monterey (POM). The honor guard, family and friends waited patiently for the services to begin, but the Army detail was nowhere to be found. So with the consent of the family, the Honor Guard took action. Upon the silent signal of the minister, the rifle team fired three ceremonial volleys, taps sounded from a bugle, and a rifleman grounded his weapon. He and Capt K ceremoniously walked to the flag covered casket, performed a slow salute and folded the flag. Capt K presented the flag to the widow and after the brass casings from the firing. Capt K called Mr. Brooks of the DLI Casualty Memorial Office and asked for an explanation. Capt K was informed the NCO of the detail was briefed of two services and the NCO just forgot. Mr. Brooks assured Capt K that the SGT would be counseled and that this would never happen again. He thanked the Honor Guard for being present at the services and picking up the details responsibilities. Many if not all of the DLI POM NCOs and the detail members are language students who receive little training or practice in performing military funeral honors. Because of this screw-up among other reasons, the mortuaries of our county have chosen to use the military honors details from the California State Guard as their first choice. Capt K agrees. They are excellent in their duties and true professionals.
This Honor Guard is looking for a few dedicated men and women, including Auxiliary who would like to join its ranks. Having the ability or strength to handle or carry a rifle is not necessary. We have positions and a need for flag bearers, flag folders, riflemen, among other positions. We do more than just funerals and memorial services. One does not have to be retired to participate and be a member of the team, or have a vehicle. We have functions various days of the week including weekends, and receive requests with least a 48 hour notice. Are You Up To The Challenge? If your interested leave a comment or contact Capt. K.
This Honor Guard has changed its sponsor or name twice and continues to be a solid team dedicated to honoring those who served. The origin of our VFW Honor Guard began in Santa Cruz at Tres Pueblos Post 7263 in the mid 1960s. The first Captain was Billy Culbert and member Bud Decker designed the uniform we wear today which other units have copied. Bob Bunnell was the Chaplain and also a rifleman of the Honor Guard. The Honor Guard did not receive any financial support from the Post. It raised operating capital from hot dog sales on Independence Day at Harvey West Park and the donations it got for its services. It had over a thousand dollars in its separate account in the quartermaster book. At one time the Post leadership attempted to control and dictate to the Honor Guard Captain (Chairman) who they would or would not provide honors to. Then one dark day against the objections of the Captain and the honor guard members, the Post leadership decided to confiscate the honor guard’s funds to pay the bills of the Post. Knowing their home Post leadership did not respect, support or appreciate them, in the 1980s the Honor Guard members unamously voted and went before the Santa Cruz-San Benito County Council. The County Council represented eight VFW Posts in three counties and held its meetings at Freedom Post 1716. Then Captain Bud Decker asked the council to sponsor an Honor Guard. A motion was made and it was asked what liabilities and assets the Honor Guard had. The answer was none. The motion passed and the Honor Guard became the SC-SB Council Honor Guard. This change allowed all members of all post within the council eligible to participate with the Honor Guard. The Honor Guard immediately held a dinner dance fundraiser and raised over $1,900 that was placed in a separate line item within the Quartermasters Book. The honor guard requested and obtained its own M-1 rifles from the Army and paid to have them modified to fire only blank ammunition. Over the years the size of the Honor Guard increased to sixteen representing all wars and all five branches of service. They were made up from three posts; 7263 Tres Pueblos, 1716 Freedom and one member from Gilroy Post. The Honor Guard divided itself into two teams, one for North County (Santa Cruz area) and the other for the Watsonville area (South County). This allowed the honor guard to perform two services at once. The Honor Guard still had 4th of July hot dog sales and held prime rib dinner dances annually at Freedom Post to raise funds. Over the years the Honor Guard raised and had over $4,000.00 in savings. The council, being too lazy to hold any of its own fundraisers illegally transferred $300 of Honor Guard funds into their Council General Account to pay bills. This was against the objections of the Quartermaster and members of the Honor Guard. Inquiries to VFW National verified that restricted honor guard accounts were authorized and the council was prohibited from taking any additional money. Over time and being unable to seize additional honor guard funds, many Council members turned against the honor guard and tied their hands in the spending of its money. This resulted in an article being printed in the December 2001 Post 1716 Scuttlebutt Rumors Newsletter; “ OUR APOLOGY The SC-SB County Council VFW Honor Guard is proud of its’ reputation and recognition its received for its accomplishments in Americanism and Community Service. Fourteen of its seventeen members belong to Freedom Post 1716. There is no other Honor Guard or Color Guard within Santa Cruz County with the exception of law enforcement and fire fighters. For over 20 years it has performed its primary role in providing military honors for our fellow veterans. In addition, the Guard provides patriotic instruction to scouts and school children, annually participates in the recognition and commemoration of patriotic programs to include school, city, county and state programs honoring veterans and patriotism. Because of the Attack on America and the Honor Guards current finances being more than adequate, the members of the Guard chose to donate 100% of their net proceeds of this February’s upcoming Annual Honor Guard Dinner Dance Fund Raiser to the VFW’s Disaster Fund with a projection of over $2,000. Unfortunately, as County Council Cmdr - Dewey Rayburn of Post 10110 made the deciding vote against the Honor Guard’s motion and the Honor Guards wish to support the disaster fund. A second motion was made to spend $500 from Honor Guard funds to purchase fifty American Flag porch sets @ $7.50 each, VFW flag Etiquette books and two gross small American flags. Flags are not sold but given away by members of the Honor Guard at schools, parades, patriotic assemblies and ceremonies, and as appreciation gifts to Scouts, volunteers, teachers, firefighter and law enforcement. The final supply of flags the Guard purchased approximately 2 years ago was exhausted due to the requests following the September 11 attack. Even though Post 1716 strongly supports the efforts of the Honor Guard and every Post within the Council receives credit for what the Honor Guard does, the motion failed. The County Council Cmdr’s Chief of Staff and Past Dist 12 Commander - Terry Reeder stated “I don’t think the Honor Guard should be giving flags away”. Since none of the Council officers, with the exception of Post 1716, have ever assisted with the planning or labor of the Honor Guards fundraisers, the Honor Guard has chosen to cancel its plans for its February 2002 Dinner Dance. We find it disappointing that we will be unable to contribute and support your VFW Disaster Fund, Americanism, Community Activities, and Youth Activities Programs as we had hoped and planned. However, we shall continue to perform our duties as an Honor Guard with the limitations placed on us, for “What we do, Comes from the heart” - - Joe Kleinsmith, Past Cmdr & Honor Guard Co-Cpt “ Seeing the writing on the wall of history repeating itself, and that all but one honor guard member belonged to Freedom Post 1716; in 2001 Joe Kleinsmith made the motion before Post 1716 members to establish its’ own Post 1716 Honor Guard with a restricted funds account for honor guard use only. The motion was seconded by honor guard member Bill Kleinsmith and passed. Past Cmdr Kleinsmith initiated this action to ensure and guarantee an established honor guard would be in place to carry on its’ work "Honoring those who served". The Post Comdr appointed Bill Rolls as Captain (Chairman) of the Honor Guard. Later in 2002, the County Council voted to dissolve the Council Honor Guard, which permitted them to confiscate all of the Honor Guards funds. The council chose to return the M-1 rifles to the Army instead of allowing Post 1716 to obtain custody by authorized transfer procedures. With dissolving the honor guard, the posts the Council no longer received recognition for nor could report the Americanism and Community Service the honor guard did. As the Council did nothing worthwhile and meetings poorly represented, they voted to turn surrender their charter only after first dividing up among the 8 posts the thousands of dollars the Honor Guard had raised. Post 1716 Honor Guard received one eighth of its savings [a little over $600.00] from the County Council prior to it surrendering its charter. Capt Rolls has joined Capt Bud Decker on the rolls of the honor guard as “Retired, In-active Reserve.” And Joe Kleinsmith was appointed the newest Post 1716 Honor Guard Captain. Capt K was quick to respond to continue providing military funeral honors for our veterans. We got our own ceremonial rifles and ammunition from the Army, flag carry harnesses, and added a digital bugle to our inventory. Last year we searched out and received training from the California ARNG Funeral Team, and became participants of the Dept of Defense Authorized Provider Partnership Program (AP3). The guidance and training we received enables us to be more confident and professional in honoring our veterans.
On a Thursday afternoon, Capt. K got a message from Paradise California asking for assistance to locate someone who could fold a flag at a veteran's funeral. From that Capt. Joe knew something was amiss. He called the mortuary and found out they could not get the Air Force to provide an honor team and was searching out assistance. After obtaining all the information needed surrounding the graveside service of Tech Sgt Melvin Lemke, the Capt. called his contact in the Air Force for military funeral honors and got a confirmation of their tasking. He then called back the mortuary and wife of TS Lemke to assure them that all was arranged for Saturday. On Saturday at 1 pm, the Honor Guard was at the Felton Cemetery under the trees. Capt. K performed the duties of Chaplain; three airmen from Travis AFB folded and presented the flag to the widow, and played taps. Lt Sal directed the team in firing three ceremonial volleys with their WWII M-1 Garands. The family was grateful that Melvin received his military honors.
We highly recommend seeing the video "Never Falter". It shows behind the scenes of those who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns, their training and so much more. You will find it under our selected "Links" on the right.
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Late one afternoon a few years back, honor guard Capt Joe received a call from the Santa Cruz American Legion Post Commander asking for our participation at their members memorial service. It was being held the next day Pacific Gardens Memorial Chapel in Santa Cruz. It was short notice but do able for our team. I called the funeral director and verified the family requested our presence and the Armys. For some unknown reason the Legion Commander called the police department for permission to have a rifle salute. A little while later the Legion Cmdr called me back and said the police department would not allow the rifles at the services. He gave me his contact and I spoke with a Lt Suponi. She went on to recite a city ordnance that prohibited the discharging of rifles clear down to a sling shot within the city limits. I advised her that the VFW honor guard has been firing rifle volleys at veterans memorial services and patriotic assemblies for over 20 years throughout the city of Santa Cruz and the entire county. And that we would be firing tomorrow rendering military honors for a veteran who defended our country in time of war. I advised her I would be at Pacific Gardens for her to arrest me and that I would love to report to the newspapers and television that the police and City fathers are against veterans receiving military funeral honors guaranteed by federal law. I continued to educate her that federal law guaranteed veterans military honors and that the weapons were on loan to us from the government, registered with the Watsonville Police Department and modified so only to fire blank ammunition. I could hear in her voice her back peddling and she advised me she would have to consult with the citys counsel (attorney) and call me back. Ten minutes later she called me back and said since no projectiles exited our weapons, technically the city ordinance did not apply to us. The next day like all other times before we fire volleys, I called Dispatch at the Police Department and advised them where we would be firing, when we would be firing, and that it would be three volleys, in case someone called them to report gun fire. The Army was present and everything went off perfectly without any sign of police presence. We do not ask for permission to fire.
a. Upon receiving their signal, two pre-designated men ceremoniously march (heel-toe) to the folded flag and at the position of “Attention” simultaneously present a slow salute. The Fold man will pick-up the flag and they march to a pre-selected location visible to the family. The Fold man will hold the flag with his right hand and will hold up the flap with his left. The Receiver facing the Fold man will unfold the flag tuck and grasp its end. The Fold man stands fast and slowly unfolds the flag while the Receiver slowly backs-up keeping the flag tight. At the seventh fold (now in the RED) the Fold man signals with a nod for the Receiver to stand fast. The Fold man then begins to back up while still unfolding the flag. Once the flag is unfolded to its narrow length, both men keep the flag waist high. b. Both men should be centered and equal distance from their starting point. With a signal of a nod, both men raise the flag vertically chest high, search out, separate and grasp the two corners of the flag in preparation to opening the flag. With the signal of a nod, both men spread their arms apart and open the flag fully. They raise the flag shoulder high and hold it for three seconds. Then the flag is lowered to waist height in preparation to refold it. The flag is not to sag and will be kept taunt at all times.
a. The OIC will give the silent signal (eye wink, nod, or thumb raise) to start the fold. On the signal the team will fold the flag in half length half ways, blue should be on the bottom of the flag, leaving one inch of the union showing. Then another signal and another fold lengthwise. The blue should be on the top and the bottom of the flag now. Make sure the folds always go the to holders left/folders right. Then another signal and the Fold man at the stripes end (not the end of the blue) will begin to fold the flag, beginning with the first fold from the left to the right in a triangle. Remember two folds then step towards the holder. Continue to fold until the eighth fold, at this point the tip of the fold should be in the blue of the flag and touch the center of the first star. On the ninth fold, Fold man will make sure to cover the tip of the fold with the blue part of the flag. Continue on until the thirteenth fold, at which point the Fold man will with his left hand hold up the blue flap and the receiver will tuck the excess flag into the flag itself, rolling the end flap around itself making sure the flag is smooth and that the end will not fall out or become un-tucked. The Fold man will then inspect the flag by holding it vertical and run his hand down all three sides by rotating the flag slowly clockwise.
b. When the flag is completely folded, slow salutes are exchanged and the OIC will secure the flag with left hand on top and with fingers over the point. The OIC will ceremoniously march (heel- toe) to the family and the Fold man will face and ceremoniously march back to rejoin the firing team. At this time the OIC will present the flag to the person using the following words, On behalf of the President of the United States and the (Branch of Service), it is my high privilege to present to you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation our nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one. After the saying, the OIC presents the flag to the designated person by pulling his left hand back and rolling the flag over end so the point will be facing (stabbing) him. He returns to the position of attention, renders a slow hand salute holding it for three seconds and drops the salute.
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