Department of Rhode Island

By Barry Lischinsky, National Membership Chairman

How to Run A Veterans Day Ceremony at Your Local Jewish Community Center, Synagogue or School

What is the purpose of JWV Posts running Veterans Day ceremonies?

Veterans Day is an excellent opportunity for JWV Posts to interact with their local Jewish communities – to remind them that Jewish veterans exist and live among them.  We must capitalize on this opportunity by reaching out to our local JCCs, synagogues and schools in order to remind the Jewish community of their proud and historic service to the United States.

What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

What is the importance of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of WWI?

JWV Members setting up Veterans Day exhibit in the Merage JCC.

This Veterans Day is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice (the peace agreement) of World War 1 (WW1).  WW1 remains America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives in that war than the wars of Korea and Vietnam combined.  More than four million American families sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during World War 1, and 225,000 American Jews served in that war – many of them new immigrants.  It was also the first time women were formally introduced into the Army, and we are proud to say that the first female doctor in the US Army, Kate Karpeles, was a proud Jewish woman and the daughter in law to a Jewish Medal of Honor Recipient.  By learning and teaching our community about our service, we are not only teaching the next generation, but we are also making a promise to this generation of soldiers and sailors that their service will not be forgotten 100 years from now.

How do I run a Veterans Day Ceremony?

The ceremony itself consists of 8 parts: (1) Posting of the Colors, (2) Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, (3) Introductory Remarks, (4) Introduction of Special Guests, (5) Principal Speaker, (6) Special Reading, (7) TAPS and (8) Closing Benediction.

  • Prelude and Posting of Colors —A procession and posting of the Nation’s colors (the American Flag) is always a moving event. Local veterans service organizations or JROTC programs often participate with their impressive array of military banners and American flags.
  • Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem — The program chairperson should invite the audience to stand and join in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem.
  • Introductory Remarks — Brief introductory remarks can set the tone for the program. This year, it would be appropriate to give a brief history of WW1 and the impact that it has had through our nation. A guide on WWI can be found at the WW1 Centennial Commission website, and information about Jewish soldiers during WW1 can be found at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History
  • Introduction of Guests — Dignitaries selected as special guests may include local government officials, distinguished military personnel and veterans from your community should be introduced at the event.
  • Principal Speaker — Your principal speaker should be invited far enough in advance to allow adequate preparation for your program. JWV is able to provide speakers through our Project Maggid program.  Please contact JWV’s Programs Department if you are interested in getting a speaker.
  • Selected Reading —A reading of a well-known patriotic address by a famous military hero by a talented student can be effective. Selected readings are available from the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.
  • Moment of Silence, Taps — While Veterans Day is primarily a tribute to America’s living veterans, and should be observed more as a celebration than as a somber remembrance, it is always appropriate to include a moment of respect for those who gave their lives for their country. This year, the Jewish community lost two American heroes in the line of fire – Captain Samuel Schultz and SFC Christopher Celiz. It is important to remind the Jewish community of their stories and the stories of the other 15,000 current Jewish service members.
  • Closing Benediction — Inviting a local Rabbi or a lay leader can be a meaningful way to end the ceremony. The Prayer for America’s Military Personnel is appropriate. A link to the lyrics and musical accompaniment can be found at the JWB Jewish Chaplain’s Council

SFC Christopher Celiz. Photo Credit: US Army.

By Anna Selman, Programs and Public Relations Coordinator

WASHINGTON – Over the summer, we lost another one of our brothers in arms.  Sergeant First Class (SFC) Christopher Celiz, a member of the 1st Battalion of 75th Ranger Regiment, died July 12 of wounds suffered as a result of enemy small-arms fire in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktiya province.  He was 32.

“While conducting combat operations in Paktiya province, Celiz was wounded by enemy small arms fire,” stated a U.S. Army Special Operations Command press release. “He was treated immediately and medically evacuated to the nearest medical treatment facility where he died of his wounds.”  He was part of a team of Army Rangers supporting the CIA in an intensifying effort to kill or capture top militant targets.

“The 75th Ranger Regiment suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of SFC Chris Celiz,” Col. Brandon Tegtmeier, the 75th Ranger Regiment’s commander, said in the release. “Chris was a national treasure who led his Rangers with passion, competence, and an infectiously positive attitude no matter the situation. He will be greatly missed.”

Celiz deployed from 2008 to 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and from 2011 to 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). He was on his fifth deployment with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment when he was killed. He deployed to war zones a total of seven times with the U.S. Army.

Celiz was born in 1986 in South Carolina, and he was a native of Summerville, SC.  He attended Summerville High School, where he participated in JROTC.  According to one of his JROTC battle buddies, they would spend weekends together competing at drill meets and hanging out at one another’s homes.  It was at Summerville High School where he also met the love of his life, with whom he shared an 8 year old daughter.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 2007 after completing two years at the Citadel. In 2013, Celiz was selected to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a combat engineer. He served with 1st Battalion as the Battalion Master Breacher and engineer and then later as a mortar platoon sergeant with Company D.  At the time of his death, Celiz was serving as the battalion mortar platoon sergeant.

Temple Mikve Israel. Photo Credit: Temple Mikve Israel.

“SFC Chris Celiz was a great Ranger leader, and he will be sorely missed by 1st Ranger Battalion. He had an incredibly positive attitude that inspired Rangers throughout the formation,” his battalion commander, LTC Sean McGee, said in the release. “SFC Class Celiz led from the front and always put himself at the decisive point on the battlefield. He was a loving husband and father, and he and his family have been an important part of the fabric that represents 1st Ranger Battalion and the Savannah community.”

His funeral took place Wednesday afternoon at Congregation Mickve Israel in historic Savannah. Flags were lowered at half-staff throughout the state in his honor.  Hundreds of mourners filled a Savannah, Georgia, synagogue to remember a Jewish soldier killed in action in Afghanistan on July 12.

“When Rob got on the plane to come home for R&R, SFC Chris Celiz shook his hand and told him to have fun and be safe. Rob said, “See you in a few weeks.” Unfortunately, Rob would not see him again. Operation Enduring Freedom began 17 years ago and it seems many have forgotten we are still in Afghanistan, or have become desensitized to that fact. Young men and women are still risking their lives every day, and this young man, a husband and father, lost his life. We cannot forget their sacrifices, or the family they leave behind,” said Kelley, a spouse of a Ranger in the 75th Regiment.

The Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, ordered flags at half-staff on July 18th.  “As you look at the flag today and see it at half-staff, please take a moment to remember Sergeant First Class Christopher A. Celiz, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in Afghanistan, and pray for his family and friends as they, and our entire state, mourn his loss,” McMaster wrote on Facebook.

The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) mourns the death of SFC Christopher Celiz, and we promise to remind the Jewish community about his service and to remind the world that Jews have and will continue to proudly serve the United States – some, like Celiz, have given their lives.  This Veterans’ Day, we will be reminding Jewish communities around the country that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are continuing to this day, and we have soldiers, like Celiz, who are still dying to protect our freedom.  It is our duty to remember them and to tell the next generation of their sacrifice.

Nathan Krissoff with the rescued hostage, Photo Credit: Krissoff Family

By Anna Selman, Programs and Public Relations Coordinator

The story of Nathan and Bill Krissoff is an amazing story, but it is not the typical generational military story that you are likely to hear.   Nowadays, Jewish service members, like the rest of the United States, tend to serve in “generational military families” – that is people who serve tend to have a parent or both parents that serve.  However, the story of the Krissoffs is a bit different.

Nathan Krissoff, a Jewish native of Nevada, joined the Marines after being told that he was too young to work at the CIA – he wanted to be on the “front line” of the Global War on Terror.  Nathan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in August of 2004.

In August 2006, First Lieutenant (1LT) Nathan Krissoff and his unit deployed to Iraq.  Shortly after arriving in Iraq, 1LT Krissoff wrote home: “Almost five years to the day after September 11, 2001, I have the chance to put my money where my mouth is in terms of service…. I’m constantly reminded of that famous quote from Tom Hanks’ character at the end of Saving Private Ryan: “Earn this.” Earning it will mean sacrifice, determination, doing my job to the best of my ability. I chose this, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

During his deployment, 1LT Krissoff led a Human Intelligence Exploitation Team sub-team on 8 different battalion operations and participated in 30 combat patrols.  During one mission, his intelligence skills were key to freeing an Iraqi national that was held hostage by terrorists.  On December 9, 2006, 1LT Krissoff volunteered to participate on an intelligence mission in the Al Amiriyah and Al Faris area of Fallujah, Iraq.  As his unit was returning to base, 1LT Krissoff’s vehicle was hit by an IED when the Humvee drove over explosives that had been buried in a dry riverbed. Nathan, who was sitting in the right rear seat, took the brunt of the blast.  He was only 4 months into his 9 month deployment.

His funeral was held in his hometown of Reno, NV.   His brother, Austin, had just graduated for Marine Officer Candidate School when Nathan deployed.  Austin, his parents, grandparents and hundreds of Reno natives were in attendance at Nathan’s funeral.

Lt Cmdr Bill Krissoff official swearing in ceremony, Photo Credit: Task and Purpose

After the funeral, there was a message on Dr. Bill Krissoff’s orthopedic office.  It told patients that Dr. Krissoff was no longer seeing patients because he had joined the U.S. Navy in order to finish his son’s mission to take care of Marines.  This came about after President Bush went to Reno to give a speech months after Nathan had passed away, and he met the Krissoffs afterwards.  President Bush asked the family if there was anything that he could do for him, and Nathan’s father, Bill told him that he wanted to enlist to finish his son’s deployment.

Leaving his profitable practice, Dr. Bill Krissoff was sworn in as a Lieutenant Commander (Lt. Cmdr) in the U.S. Navy in 2007.  After completing his training with the U.S. Navy, Lt. Cmdr Krissoff arrived in Iraq to finish his son’s 7 month deployment.  According to Krissoff, it was a culture shock to be there – the C-130s spiraling in to avoid getting shot, the blast walls surrounding the hospital “like something out of Mad Max.”  Most of the surgeries Krissoff saw weren’t that different from what he was handling back in Truckee – knees and shoulders injured in training.

After weeks from getting back from his deployment to Iraq, Lt. Cmdr Krissoff signed up for another deployment, but this time to Afghanistan.  Krissoff arrived at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan as the battle for Marjah was kicking off in February 2010.  In his time in Afghanistan, Krissoff served as the primary or assistant surgeon on 225 serious casualties, including countless amputations.  Marines coming into Bastion with a heartbeat had a 97 percent chance of making it to the next facility alive.

Lt. Cmdr Krissoff continued to serve for six years, and he feels that he did finish what Nathan started.  “In most families, dad inspires sons. In our family, sons inspire dad,” Krissoff said.  One thing is definitely known for sure, Lt. Cmdr Krissoff definitely did “Earn It”.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

Lance Wang at Basic Training in 1988.

By Lance Wang, National Editor

A group of tired Infantry Second Lieutenants climbed onto the yellow school buses that were being used for transport them back and forth from their quarters to the field for training.   The year was 1994, and I was at my basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia.   I was a few years older than the rest, having attained the rank of Staff Sergeant prior to going to Officer Candidate School – most of them were straight out of ROTC.   A young blond Lieutenant, a corn-fed middle-America type, sat down next to me on the bus and made some small talk, concluding with an inquiry as to the status of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   I politely mentioned that I was Jewish, and was not interested in abandoning my faith.   He paused for a second, clearly not expecting this turn in the conversation.    Then he said something along the lines of Scripture calling for the Christians to “take care of their Jews,” and then remarked that “Jews were great fighters.”

That conversation stuck with me for a while, for that was the first time that I’d heard Jews referred to as “great fighters” from a non-Jew.   More often it was like the line from the eponymous medical drama “House,” where Dr. House makes a wisecrack about the Jewish lack of athletic prowess to Dr. Taub, to which Taub retorts “Sandy Koufax is Jewish.   Greatest left-handed pitcher of all time.”   House then says, “Sandy Koufax is all you Jews go on about…”

Great athletic prowess and “great fighters” are treated as notable exceptions in American-Jewish culture.   I’ve always found this curious.   Where did this become part of the hand-me-down nature of Jewish culture?    How come the stereotypical Jewish mother’s kvelling is “My son, the Doctor,” not “My son, the soldier”?

Lance Wang editing the Jewish Veteran.

This dichotomy is represented in the way the Torah treats Jacob and Esau.    Esau was an outdoorsman, and “a cunning hunter.”   He is described as a hairy infant, covered with red hair, almost animal like.   Jacob is considered simple, quiet, and quite literally, a “Mama’s boy.”   He was different enough from Esau that he needed to cover his arms with animal skins in order to deceive his blind father as to which son he was.   Jacob (Israel) would become the father of the 12 Tribes.    Esau would become the father of the Edomites, but the glory of Israel was not with Esau, the hairy hunter.

Perhaps it was because the Jews found that their culture’s embrace of education, learning, and knowledge was the way to succeed in the many nations that the diaspora found itself in.   Not that there was a lack of skilled tradesmen and soldiers, but a Jewish stereotype rooted in fact was the focus on learning.   This of course led to its own challenges – Koufax was initially deemed “too intellectual” to be a successful baseball pitcher.   When I was a Battalion Operations Officer, I received that same label from one senior officer.    It’s part of being Jewish.    But that same analytical bend turned Koufax into an astute student (one might say pioneer) of the science of pitching.   Ted Williams was the same about hitting – however, Williams didn’t carry the baggage of being a Jew, and was simply treated as, well, a student of the science of hitting.    He was never considered too bookish nor intellectual.

Perhaps a better way to look at our martial inheritance is not the either/or of Jacob and Esau – a better parallel for the Jewish martial strain is King David.   A warrior from younger days when he confronted the mammoth Goliath, he rose to become a warrior, musician, poet, and King.   Although he conquered Jerusalem and helped establish the Kingdom of Israel, he also is considered the author of many Psalms still included in Jewish liturgy.   History is replete with examples of Jews who did both – achieved prominence in the defense of their nation, and then succeeded in numerous other pursuits.

Of course, these representatives of our inheritance as fighters, defenders of our freedom, and servants of our adopted homelands are not well publicized as role models to our own people or outside, hence the need for organizations such as Jewish War Veterans of the United States to remind not only the citizens of our adopted home countries but our fellow Jews that we are, as the young Second Lieutenant told me years ago “great fighters.”   And it is not a choice between intellectual pursuits and martial skill – it is, as in the case of King David, “all of the above.”   JWV exists to remind all that we are the Sons and Daughters of David.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

Barry accepting his nomination for National Commander at Convention.

Dear Friends,

First let me say how honored and humble I am to serve as this year’s National Commander.  I will do my best to live up to your expectations.  Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions and/or questions at nationalcmdr@jwv.org.

The High Holy Days are a time for reflection and new beginnings.  As we usher in 5779, I challenge you to reflect on the many good things we at JWV do for our veterans and service members.  This time of year we ask G—d for strength to make ourselves better than we were last year and remove the burden of regret from last year.  My personal wish is for each of you and your families to have a sweet, healthy and successful new year.

The year started off with a bang!  The Tampa convention was one of the best in memory.  The revised format has put new emphasis on workshops which will help us improve efficiency in delivering our various programs.  Should you have suggestions for workshops, best practices sessions or speakers, please contact Anna Selman at National Headquarters or email me at the above address.  Congratulations to our National staff and Convention Committee for all their hard work.

Barry serving the homeless at Post 256’s Annual BBQ for the homeless.

August saw me in New Orleans and Shreveport to say hello and offer assistance to the Posts in both cities.  In early September, I joined Post 256 in Dallas for their annual BBQ luncheon for homeless Veterans.  Over 120 veterans were served a delicious lunch. Later in September, I had the opportunity to visit the Capt. David Greene Post 344 in Denver.  In Boulder, Colorado, I had the opportunity and to meet with the University of Colorado ROTC Cadet Corps and the University Veteran Assistance Officer.  This fall will be equally busy with Veteran’s Day activities in Washington DC as well as Brussels Belgium, SHAPE and NATO Headquarters.  As we remember the end of WWI, let us not forget the heroes of that war.  I encourage each echelon to develop a remembrance in your own community.  We will make a stop in London to visit with the members of the Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women (AJEX).

This year’s Allied Mission trip to Israel has been totally revamped!  Please review the itinerary located elsewhere in the paper.  With the help of David Dinour and Aviatours Tours, a very special trip has been planned.  We believe it will appeal to Military and civilians alike, as well as those Allied Veterans our various Departments will be sending on this exciting trip. As an added bonus, an extension tour to Egypt has been scheduled.  The itinerary is certain to excite the senses and enlighten the mind. Please register now!

I am pleased to announce the renavigations of the Iraq/Afghanistan committee under the able leadership of Rochel Hyman from Arizona.  She is very attuned to the needs of our younger active duty personnel and veterans.  I know she will do much to bring them into the fold.

To the ladies of JWVA, congratulations to President Singer.  I look forward to working together for the mutual benefit of both organizations.  Together, united, we stand stronger and more efficient in carrying out our common mission.

Membership continues to be is a major goal. We need more, new and younger members.  They are out there.  Your job is to find them and let them know, regardless of age, that JWV has meaning and value to them and their families.  At last count there are over 50,000 Jewish veterans waiting to be asked to join JWV.  All they need is to be asked.  Please ASK THEM! Let us not forget about our museum.  The museum is our face in DC.  It tells what we have done and what we do.  Every member of JWV should be a member of the museum.  Post Commanders take hold of the issue and insure new and renewing members are encouraged to join.  Talk to your synagogues, JCC’s Federations and insure they make the museum a priority stop when they take students to Washington.

As a final comment, remember it is now time to renew for 2019. Review your membership roster.  Call, email or write those members in arrears. Your voting strength and NEC delegation is based on paid membership.

As we march into the future, please know that I appreciate the efforts put forward by each of you.

Sincerely,

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

By Ben Kane, Programs Assistant

A new Fast-Response Cutter (FRC) named after fallen servicemember DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal is set to be put into service in July 2018. The purpose of the FRC is to serve as a patrol vessel and carry out ship boardings, coastal security missions, search and rescue missions, and general national defense missions. The naming of this FCR after Bruckenthal continues the Coast Guard tradition of naming these ships after Coast Guard enlisted heroes. The naming of this particular cutter after Bruckenthal was announced by Admiral Robert Papp, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, on the 10th anniversary of Bruckenthal’s death.

Nathan was born on July 17, 1979 and grew up in Stony Brook, New York. After a period of service with the Ridgefield Connecticut Volunteer Fire Department following his high school graduation, he joined the Coast Guard in 1998, quickly demonstrating his talent and commitment to his country. In his spare time, Nathan volunteered for a variety of tasks to help the local Native American reservation where he was stationed. Nathan volunteered as a police officer, firefighter, EMT, and assistant high school football coach – demonstrating his love of the country, its citizens, and his willingness to serve and improve his community.  Following several years of commendable service while stationed in New York, Virginia and Washington State, he began serving in an elite tactical law enforcement program. In recognition of his talent during his service, Nathan Bruckenthal was among the first Coast Guardsmen chosen to be deployed to Iraq in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His responsibility during the conflict was to help patrol the North Arabian Gulf and conduct safety and security searches on vessels. The searches began as early as the morning after the initial naval bombardment of Iraq, when Bruckenthal and his team boarded a group of tugs who said they were stranded. The ships were found to contain a supply of automatic weapons and sea mines, and the Iraqi military personnel were arrested. After more patrols, boardings and trainings, Bruckenthal decided to remain in the Gulf for a second tour of duty.

One of Bruckenthal’s responsibilities was to instruct navy personnel on how to best conduct maritime operations. During a standard patrol of an important oil terminal in April 2004, several local fishing vessels approached and were turned away from the area by the U.S. forces. However, one vessel ignored the warnings, approached the oil terminal, and prompted servicemembers, including Bruckenthal, to board the ship. The insurgents aboard the ship, knowing they would not be able to proceed to their destination, detonated the explosives in the cargo bay of their ship, resulting in an explosion that fatally wounded Bruckenthal. Thus, Nathan Bruckenthal became not only one of the first Coast Guardsmen to serve in the Iraq war, but the only Coast Guardsman to die in the Iraq War or in any conflict since the Vietnam War. The actions of Bruckenthal and his men prevented the terrorists from approaching and harming the men on the nearby U.S.S. Firebolt, the oil platform and the oil terminal. As a result of his sacrifice, Bruckenthal was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star medal with Combat “V” for Valor, the Purple Heart, his second Combat Action Ribbon, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

As a testament to the respect and love that Nathan’s friends, family, and fellow servicemembers had for him, several other buildings, scholarships, and plaques have been named and placed in his honor. Among other honors, the barracks where he first served has been renamed in his honor, and a non-profit baby pantry was established to provide aid to military and civilian employees in Baltimore.  In addition, a fund, originally established to ensure his family would be cared for, has since been able to donate to causes like the Wounded Warrior Project, the Coast Guard Foundation, and Brooke Army Medical Center’s Center for the Intrepid.

Nathan Bruckenthal left behind a pregnant wife who gave birth to their daughter, Harper Natalie Bruckenthal, in November 2004. DC3 Bruckenthal’s sacrifice for the sake of the United States and in defense of his fellow countrymen serves as an example for all who choose to enter the armed services.  We invite all members of JWV to come to the USCGC Nathan Bruckenthal’s commissioning on July 25, 2018 in Alexandria, VA.  We hope to see you there.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Anna Selman, Programs and Public Relations Coordinator

On April 3, 2018, Marine Captain Samuel Schultz passed away in during a military aviation training accident in Southern California.  He was 28 years old.  A born and raised Philadelphia native, Capt. Schultz was described as “fearless” and “a driven individual”.  He joined the military 6 years ago – following in the footsteps of his family with that same fearless attitude.

His funeral was held in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA on April 15, 2018, and the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. was there.  According to Post Commander Bruce Kanis, “1,100 people were at the Funeral Chapel ranging from a 4 Star USMC General Magnus to Admirals to Lance Corporals to many of his friends from both coasts.  We (JWV) provided a full JWV service along with another Gold Star Memorial Plaque from Post 215 to the family.  At the grave, I presented a full Veteran Detail of JWV, American Legion, Marine Leatherneck, and Warrior Watch members who gave proper salute and honors during the service in conjunction with a full Marine Honor and Firing Detail.”

However, questions on why and how this happened has overwhelmed military leadership.  Since training season began in the spring, at least 27 US service members have died in noncombat-related crashes of military aircraft and more injured.  It has plagued all the services – Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force alike.  So, the question is why is this happening and why now?

As in all military accidents, investigations into each individual accident started with each crash.  However, each individual investigation will not look into the magnitude of the situation.  As I am typing this, a proposal to create an independent national commission on military aviation safety, offered by HASC Ranking Member Adam Smith just passed the committee by a unanimous voice vote – meaning there will be a Congressional review of all military aviation accidents from 2013 to 2018.

Why 2013?  That is because 2013 is the year that the Sequestration started to ramp up.  According to a report by the Military Times, the Sequestration disproportionately affected maintenance and operations budgets – cutting the budget by 1 trillion dollars during its effect.  The military decided to cut flight hours, maintenance on heavy aircraft and to delay replacing old equipment.  Military personnel, such as ground maintenance crews, were let go, and we are now starting to see the effects of those decisions.

However, operational requirements did not change from 2012 to 2013, which means that pilots were flying the same amount of missions with a smaller amount of aircraft and a smaller group of pilots and maintenance crews.  In 2016, the problem started show itself.  The Air Force realized that it was facing a shortage of 700 fighter pilots and a shortage of 2,500 ground-maintenance workers.

The aircraft that Captain Schultz flew on April 3rd was a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.  The Marine Corps currently has 143 CH-53Es in its inventory, despite having a requirement for 200 heavy-lift helicopters. On average, only 37 percent of them are flyable at any given time. Difficulties in keeping the aircraft airworthy, in turn making it hard for pilots to get in adequate flying hours to remain proficient in the various tasks the helicopter performs, have undoubtedly contributed to a string of deadly accidents with the type.

In turn, we have seen deadly accidents coming from stateside training exercise increase the past couple of years.  We know service members sign up for the military knowing full well that they might die in combat, but what they do not sign up for is dying in a training accident.  The best way we can honor Captain Schultz’s memory is to make sure that our service members have proper equipment and training before we send them out to the field.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Ben Kane, Programs Assistant

After a servicemember dies, their families grieve and celebrate the life of their loved one in a variety of ways. Some choose not to publicize their grief, but some choose to go in the opposite direction. One of the ways that fallen servicemembers have been remembered is by the naming of buildings after them. Staff Sergeant Peter Taub is one such fallen servicemember to be given such posthumous recognition. SSgt Taub was killed by a suicide bomber while on tour in Afghanistan in December 2015. Here in the states, in the town of Wyncote, Pennsylvania, a way to remember him and celebrate his life has been made official. A post office has been officially slated to be renamed the “Staff Sergeant Peter Taub Post Office Building.”

The bill to authorize the renaming was put through the House of Representatives by Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-13). “Staff Sergeant Peter Taub was a shining example of the best our country has to offer. In his service to our nation, he exemplified unwavering patriotism and heroic bravery. Renaming this post office in his home town is the least we can do to honor him; a small but important symbol of our eternal thanks,” Boyle said. SSgt Taub has received several posthumous medals, such as the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.

Taub, married and with a second child on the way, planned to help run the family business- a beloved sandwich shop in downtown Washington D.C. called Bub and Pop’s, once he had returned from active duty. Sadly, Taub’s plans of a complete family and working in a place he loved were to be unfulfilled, and his family devastated by death. Eventually, time will help mend the wounds his loved ones have suffered. But until then, and long after, a small part of SSgt Taub’s legacy will exist for generations to come.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Gavin Ellman, Post 112

Unsurprisingly, it was hot in Iraq the day I left. The first thing I felt when we landed back home was profound joy; the second was profound cold since I was standing outside in the middle of an Alaskan winter night. Thus began the first of many conflicting emotions.

Of course, returning home is wonderful. My first weeks home from my tours were times of happiness. There was so much I’d missed. From the little conveniences of just being in air conditioning, to the big celebrations of seeing the people I loved and missed so much. But there was also the struggle to adjust, which crept into my life as the excitement started to fade.

At first it was little things. I missed the convenience of free water bottles in every office or truck. I had to find an apartment and, occasionally, buy groceries. There were bills, chores, and all those little headaches of life. But there was also something big missing.

Overseas, and in the military in general, I knew what to do. I had a place and I had a purpose. I didn’t appreciate it fully when I was there, but I felt its absence more and more the longer I was home. 12-hour patrols were grueling, but they were familiar burdens. I knew who to count on and who counted on me.

After my first tour, the pressures of military life and the promise of the next tour meant I didn’t have to fully confront this uncomfortable absence for long. But when I finally did transition from active duty, there was no avoiding it: what was I going to do with this freedom I’d apparently been fighting for?

I left Fort Benning for the last time in August 2015 and in many ways, it was more difficult than redeploying from Iraq or Afghanistan. I was heading for Atlanta and a new life. I wasn’t coming back. After 10 years of active service, I hadn’t realized how comfortable I’d become in the Army. The thought that “this is my last paycheck” rattled me. What was I going to do? How would I fit back into a community where I’d always be “the Army guy”? For months, even my haircut still said I was in the Army. I did eventually give up the reflective belt, at least.

There are many resources out there to help, of course. The Army has its required classes. There are countless companies and organizations reaching out. But those didn’t help me feel any less alone. Classes and forms can’t help with that.

Only people could.

There was my wife, who was with me for every step of the journey. She believed in me and in our shared future. I knew I could count on her and, even better, I knew she counted on me.

And there were those that went before me to start new lives and careers outside the service. A retired chaplain introduced me to the Jewish community of Atlanta, where we now make our home. My former engineering instructor coached me through the painful process of applying to business school, where I met other veterans on similar paths. Beyond the practical help we could offer each other, just knowing there were others made all the difference.

And that’s why I believe in Jewish War Veterans. Not only are we connected by common service, we are connected by our shared faith, culture, and bond as a people. JWV brings together all branches and generations and can bridge the gap between those in service, those who have served, and the vibrant Jewish communities that exist throughout the country.

We know there’s much work to do. We need to build the bridges between the younger generation of Jewish American Warriors and the historical membership base of JWV. Our differences are real. We communicate in different ways, are at different phases of life, and perhaps expect different things from our local post. But I know that which binds us—our service and our Jewish identify—counts for far, far more.

With so many young Jewish veterans struggling as they come home, it’s time for JWV to come home and take its place at the intersection of Jewish military and civilian life.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

CPL Morris Meshulam’s name on the “Court of the Missing” at the Honolulu Memorial

By Anna Selman, Programs and Public Relations Coordinator

UPDATE WASHINGTON – On September 23, Army Cpl. Morris Meshulam remains were buried in Indianapolis. Meshulam died at the age of 19 in 1950 from malnutrition, frostbite and gangrene after being captured as a Prisoner of War (POW) during the Korean war.

UPDATE 9/14/2018 – JWV has been made aware that the ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 23rd at Etz Chaim Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.  All those who wish to attend the ceremony should contact the Etz Chaim Synagogue ensure there is enough space.  JWV has ensured that a JWV member will be in attendance to be there for our battle buddy.  For any more questions, please email us at jwv@jwv.org.

WASHINGTON – On June 4, 2018, JWV received a notification from the U.S. Army that the remains of CPL Morris Meshulam had been identified.  CPL Meshulam, who died 67 years earlier, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 11, 1931 to Sam and Pauline Meshulam.  His parents were founding members of the Etz Chaim Congregation, which is a small community of Sephardic Jews in Indianapolis.  According to the family, Moe dropped out of High School when he was 18 to sign up for the Army.

The little that we know of CPL Meshulam, or Moe as he liked to be called, comes from his surviving family – his sister Rose and his nephews Sam and Morris.  Rose was contact by Army a couple of weeks ago, and she was in “total shock” that her baby brother was finally found.  CPL Meshulam’s brother Jack and his twin sister Rae gave their DNA to DOD officials to 2006 to help identify Moe’s body.  Finally, Jack, Moe and Rae will finally be brought together in the family plot in Indianapolis later this year.

From what we do know about CPL Meshulam’s service, he completed basic training, and afterwards, he was sent to Korea to be part of Battery D of the 82nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion in the 2nd Infantry Regiment on July of 1950.  His first battle must have been on August 31st when the North Koreans attacked their position on the Nantong River Line, which resulted in a 16-day battle that ended up with the unit gaining more territory for United Nation forces.  It is likely that after this battle Meshulam was promoted to Corporal.

CPL Morris Meshulam in uniform.

His Division was within fifty miles of the Manchurian border when Chinese forces entered the fight, and during the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River, his unit’s mission was to protect the rear and right flank of the Eighth Army as it retreated to the South.  After this battle, while surrounded and outgunned, CPL Meshulam’s Battery fought through what later was known as “The Gauntlet” – a valley where UN forces faced road blocks and heavy fire from Chinese forces.  His unit lost nearly one third of its remaining soldiers.  CPL Meshulam was captured in the Gaunlet near Kunu-ri on December 1, 1950 and taken as a Prisoner of War.  He later died in January 11th of 1951 either from severe malnutrition or injuries that he received during the battle.

The remains of soldiers that died in North Korea were returned by the North Koreans in two waves: one in 1954 (also known as Operation Glory) and another from 92-94.  It is estimated that out of the 4,219 bodies that were returned, 416 bodies were unable to be identified.  All unidentified soldiers were placed in the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The DoD has led a massive effort to identify the remains of these soldiers – about 90 military researchers are currently working at labs in Hawaii, Nebraska and Ohio to identify the bones of Americans as we speak.  The number varies from year to year, but they approximately identify around 30-50 remains a year through advanced DNA techniques.  Since CPL Meshulam’s remains have been accounted for, a rosette will be placed next to his name on the “Court of the Missing” at the Honolulu Memorial to mark that he now rests in a known gravesite.

JWV is grateful to the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army and the Korean War Project for ensuring that CPL Morris Meshulam can finally come home.  Although we do not have a date yet, we have been in contact with the family, and we have shared our sympathies and support for them.  We have been in contact with the Department Commander of Ohio, who has stated that they are committed to being at the funeral when it takes place.  Our goal at JWV is to ensure that each and every veteran is able to come home, and we are so glad that after 67 years, we can finally say that CPL Morris Meshulam is coming home.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018