Three Generations of Folands cleaning Jewish Veteran graves during Memorial Day.

By Mark Weiss, Post 474

DETROIT – JWV Michigan is proud to say that we have a great Honor Guard.   Our members are out in our community serving those that gave so much to us when called upon.  We have a great relationship with our local military cemetery, Great Lakes National Cemetery, and our Commander, Art Fishman, is always willing to give them a call when needed.

When JWV Michigan’s Honor Guard was asked to accompany an American hero and our friend to his final resting place after Memorial Day, we automatically agreed without a second thought.  Our members have sacrificed a lot, and somebody has to show up to do something like this for them.  It is one of the greatest mitzvahs you can do in the Torah.

JWV Michigan Color Guard.

However, he did not make it easy on us or his family to honor him.  The family could not find his DD-214, and eventhough the family insisted that he was a veteran, the Great Lakes National Cemetery insisted on having the DD-214 before going ahead with the burial.  In addition, the Post Office would not issue his flag without the DD-214 as well.  His family scrambled to find his paperwork, but could not find it within the 2 days of his passing.

JWV MI’s Honor Guard had to improvise, and with a little help of the funeral director at Great Lakes, we were able to hold a Memorial Service for him, and when the family found the paperwork (which they eventually did), he would be buried with full military honors.  At the Memorial Service, we said a prayer, had the presentation of the colors, a three-volley gun salute and the playing of TAPS.  The funeral director even gave the family one of his flags.

I highly recommend that you save your family and friends this heartache by being prepared for your funeral.  Make sure that you give a copy of your DD-214 to your family, your lawyer and your funeral director.  If you are the child of a veteran, make sure you get a copy of your parent’s DD-214 and file it away.  Do not put your family in this position!  It is heartbreaking.  Funeral directors and Honor Guards can only do so much.  Please, be prepared.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

Myron Berman Being Pinned By General Kok

By Richard Castelveter, U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador Coordinator

BURLINGTON COUNTY, Nj. – U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador Myron J. Berman, Post 706, received the Public Service Commendation Medal from Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division, during a ceremony Aug. 3 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Public Service Commendation Medal is the fourth highest public service decoration the United States Department of the Army can bestow upon a civilian, ranking directly below the Meritorious Public Service Medal.

The Army Reserve Ambassador Program was established in 1998 to promote awareness of the Army Reserve, its goals and objectives, and to serve as a vital bridge in our states/communities to further educate and garner support for the Army Reserve.   Ambassadors are a powerful means of message delivery to the American people.

The function of the ambassador is similar to that of civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army, and carries a protocol status equivalent of a major general that is a key means by which ambassadors are able to effectively execute their responsibilities.   Ambassadors are Special Government Employees who represent the Chief of the Army Reserve without salary, wages or related benefits.

General Kok and Myron Berman

Ambassadors provide community outreach assistance to Army Reserve members/families, other military personnel/families as needed, and provide feedback on plans, programs and needs to the commander of the Army Reserve, the Readiness Division commander and to local Army Reserve commanders.

Additionally, ambassadors build relationships and strive to improve the understanding and knowledge of the Army Reserve within the business and social sectors of communities across America.   They help to educate the public, community leaders, and congressional staff offices about the capabilities and values of the Army Reserve and the Soldiers who live and work in their communities.   They establish open lines of communication with the local communities; and they work to support recruiting efforts by assisting community and business leaders in recognizing that the Army Reserve strengthens the Soldiers, the community, and the nation.

While not all ambassadors have military experience, many are retired officers or senior non-commissioned officers who wish to remain engaged in military affairs.   Each state and territory has at least one Army Reserve ambassador.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018

 

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead In the Oval Office, from left, are Vice President Mike Pence, Jose Reyes, Vincent Quiñonez (Victor’s father, a Marine & Afghanistan vet), Victor Quiñonez, President Donald Trump, Karen Rodriquez (Victor’s mother), Sandi Reyes, Anthony Quiñonez (Victor’s younger brother), Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green, and White House Chief-of-Staff Gen. John Kelly.

 

By Steve Krant, Post 256 Commander

Jose Luis Reyes, a Vietnam combat-tested Marine and member of Dallas’ Jewish War Veterans Post 256, recently experienced a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC and the White House. The events leading-up to a meeting in the Oval Office began with an incident involving his grand- nephew, Victor Quiñonez, a high school student in Pico Rivera, a rural community southeast of Los Angeles.

Victor, from a family with a long history of military service (11 Marines and counting), came to class one late January day wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt, his intended destination after graduation. That apparently triggered one of his teachers, Gregory Salcido, into launching a profanity-laced anti-military rant. He told his captive class of seniors that service members are “the frickin’ lowest of the low … desperate [and with] no other options,” and derided Victor in particular for bragging about his “damned Uncle Louie (Jose Reyes).”

Victor covertly recorded the tirade on his phone; a relative later posted it to social media, where it went viral almost immediately. The “Salcido Incident” caught the attention and ire of veteran groups throughout the country, and especially that of John Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general and Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump.  Kelly promptly extended an invitation to Victor and his family to visit the White House and Pentagon as a token of his appreciation for Victor’s resolve and patriotism, as well as to honor Jose’s service and leadership by example.

Since the incident occurred, we found out that Salcido has since been fired by the school district.  In a report released on April 18th, Mr. Salcido was found to follow a pattern of bullying where his students were white, asian, pro-military, christian or gay.  In addition, pornographic pictures were found on his work computer.  However, Mr. Salcido is still currently serving as a Councilman for the City of Pico Rivera, but there is a recall petition in progress.

On Feb. 23, Victor and Jose, accompanied by family members, toured the White House, escorted by Vice President Mike Pence and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green. The Sergeant Major offered to be Victor’s personal recruiter when he graduates. Highlighting their visit was a stop in the Oval Office for a chat and photo opportunity with President Trump. As a sign of pride in his Jewish War Veterans’ membership, Jose wore his Post cap throughout the day’s activities, even in the Oval Office. Afterward, the group received a VIP tour of the Pentagon and visited the nearby National Museum of American Jewish Military History, co-located with JWV’s National Headquarters. On March 25, Jose, shared the experience with his fellow JWV Post 256 members, the post Auxiliary, and guests at the group’s monthly lox and bagel breakfast at the Aaron Family JCC.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

 

By Jerry Alperstein, Post 1 Commander

Purim was celebrated at the Manhattan VA Medical Center [VAMC] on Purim morning, March 1, with the reading of the Purim Megillah, live Purim music by the MazelTones and hamentashen.  The event was organized by VAMC Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Andrew Scheer and was sponsored by Jewish War Veterans [JWV] Manhattan-Cooper-Lieutenant Colonel Larry Epstein-Florence Greenwald Post 1, the oldest veterans echelon in the United States.

The Megillah reading has been an annual occurrence at the VAMC for many decades.  JWV has been sponsoring the event for approximately the last 15 years by providing the Megillah books, the groggers and the hamentashen.  Approximately 25 people attended the Megillah reading, which included Post 1 members and patrons as well as VAMC staff and patients.  Among JWV members and patrons attending were National Executive Committee member Jerry Alperstein, Sara Alperstein, Seymour Beder, Jonah Berman, Michael Henken, Robert Iskowitz, Mitchell Mernick, Harold Schaeffer, Simon Spiegelman and JWV Department of New York Hospital Committee Chair Mort Weinstein.  The Megillah reader was David Waxman, a member of our community.

Following the Megillah reading, five flavors of hamentashen [apricot, chocolate, mango, pomegranate and raspberry] were served while two members of the MazelTones of New York Band, including Jerry Alperstein on trumpet, performed Purim music.   Among the VAMC staff attending from the Chaplaincy Department in addition to Rabbi Scheer were Chaplain Elizabeth Putnam and Chaplain Intern Harold Ng.  After the hamentashen eating and Purim music were completed, a Post 1 meeting was held at the VA including the election and installation of officers for the 2018-2019 year.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

 

By LTC (ret) Sheldon Goldberg, Post 692

On 27 May, Post 692 held its third annual Memorial Day program at the American-Jewish Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville,Maryland. Approximately 50 friends and members of the local Jewish Community attended the program. Among the honored guests were Mr. Robert Finn, Maryland’s Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs who presented acting Post Commander Walter Gold with a Proclamation from the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan. Also present was Mr. Randy Stone, Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans, Colonel Erwin Burtnick, Commander, Department of Maryland, JWV, and Chief Scott Goldstein, Chief of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department representing County Executive Isiah Leggett.

Rabbi Moishe Kavka gave the invocation and Rabbi Paul Levenson, a WW II Army chaplain, sang El Moleh at the conclusion. Lt Col. Sheldon Goldberg, (USAF, Ret) Docent/Historian at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History was the keynote speaker. Vocalist Kassie Sandacz, president of Voices of Vets opened the program with the National Anthem and ended it with God Bless America.

Following the outdoor program, the video True Honor, the story of Jewish Medal of Honor recipients was screened for those in attendance. The screening was preceded by a short history of the Medal of Honor and afterward, Col. Goldberg provided a brief description of the actions of several of the early Jewish Medal of Honor recipients that did not appear in the video.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Steven Troy

In the late afternoon on Saturday April 7th Scottsdale Post 210 of the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) of the United States of America celebrated the last day of Passover 2018 with Jewish Veterans at the Arizona State Veterans Home in Phoenix.  Of the three Jewish residents only two were available to attend the Seder.  This is the fourth Passover Seder that Post 210 has held at the Veterans Home.  The Seder was led by Michael and Ahuva Chambers and began with a short Havdalah Service (Havdalah is Hebrew for “separation” and refers to the verbal declaration made at the end of Shabbat), followed by the traditional following of the Passover Haggadah.   The Haggadah follows our exodus from Egypt and our escape from  slavery more than 3,000 years ago.  The Veterans attending the service were Jay Lowenthal and Larry Chesin.  Post 210 members attending were Juli Altman, Jonathan Sorrell, Bernie Kaplan, Fred & Terry Lipovitch, Michael & Ahuva Chambers, Commander Rochel Hayman, & Steven Troy.  The kitchen at the Veterans Home prepared the Passover meal that consisted of chicken soup, gefilte fish, baked chicken and potatoes and of course matzos.  The Seder was enjoyed by all and Post 210 will continue to hold them at the Veterans Home as long as there are Jewish Veterans there.

Sunday April 8, Scottsdale Post 210 of the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) of the United States of America Presented the Colors at the Community-Wide Yom Hashoah Commemoration that was held at Beth El Congregation. It is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, and for the Jewish resistance in that period.  This event was presented by the Phoenix Holocaust Survivors Association.   The Holocaust Survivors led the procession into the packed hall followed by  JWV Commander Rochel Hayman leading the Color Guard which consisted of Michael Chambers carrying the American Flag and Fred Lipovitch carrying the Israeli Flag.  The service following was very heartfelt and reiterated the need for everyone to remember what happened and to ensure it happens “NEVER AGAIN”.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Dr. Jerry Field Post 710 Commander

 

Just three months ago, the Illinois JWV Posts assigned a small group of members to begin a massive program to undertake the management of the JWV JROTC program in Chicago.  The JROTC team consists of:  Dr. Jerry Field, Post 710 Cmdr. team leader; Robert F. Nussbaum, Dept. Cmdr.; Jeffery Sacks, Post 153 Cmdr.; Bruce Mayor, Post 54 Cmdr.:  and Howard Goldstein, Past Post 54 Cmdr.

Leading the group is Dr. Jerry Field, Commander, Chicago Lakeview Post 710 who had worked as a civilian resource for the JROTC and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He is familiar with the current Chicago JROTC command as well as the ROTC Chicago area Commander.

In just three weeks, the program was approved by Colonel Daniel Baggio, CPS commander of the 14 school unit with 11,000 JROTC cadets. All schools were contacted; more than a dozen schools welcomed the addition of the JWV program to their graduation ceremony and our participation in the JROTC Honors Award Program.  Most JROTC cadet units have their own graduation at a formal Military Ball.

One deserving cadet from each unit is awarded a Bronze Achievement Medal, the corresponding Bar Ribbon and two copies of the JWV certificate, one for the cadet to keep at home and another suitable for attaching to their college entrance applications.

At each Military Ball, a member of JWV Illinois is there to present the award. In detailing the parameters of the award, it is stressed that a Cadet does not have to be Jewish to merit the award. They are recommended by the Cadre Commander who forwards the pertinent information about the cadet, the unit and the Cadre Commander to Dr. Field.  This begins the process of printing the certificate and ordering the medal and ribbon.  The certificate, medal and bar ribbon are delivered to the JWV member who makes the presentation at the awards ceremony.

Six JROTC schools participated this year, and next year all 14 schools will participate in the program. The CPS System has one Navy, one Marine, ten Army units and two military academies.

JWV was instrumental in naming the Navy unit at Senn High School the Admiral Hyman Rickover Naval JROTC High School.

Illinois Commander Robert F. Nussbaum, said “this is another effort of behalf of the Illinois JWV to become more involved with our community, especially the military segment. We found that the program gives us an opportunity meet the parents of the Jewish cadets and ask them to join JWV. As a result of this opportunity, a couple of donors called Patrons joined JWV as they felt that the $50.00 annual membership dues was a good investment on behalf of their cadet.

The JROTC also participated in the annual dinner for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) this year.

This is just one of several ways designed by our outreach committee to become more involved in our community.   In addition, the Department participates every year in several region-wide Jewish events.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By Samuel Levy, Post 601

Jewish War Veterans Memorial Post No. 601 honored four top scholar/athletes from Cumberland County High School, on Sunday, June 3, at the 45th Annual Olympiad Awards Breakfast, at Beth Israel Congregation, in Vineland, NJ.

The ceremony, catered and co-sponsored by the Beth Israel Congregation’s Men’s Club, has been held each year since 1974 to memorialize the nine Israeli athletes who were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. It publicly recognizes and honors the top scholar/athlete seniors from the five county high schools. Jewish War Veterans Memorial Post 601 member Gerald Batt emceed the ceremony.

This year’s winners and the sports in which they specialized in addition to their scholastics were: Alesandro Valdez (football, winter and spring track), Bridgeton High School; Sara Loew (cross-country, winter and spring track), Cumberland Regional High School; Morgan Giordano (girls soccer, girls basketball), Millville High School; and Tess Fisher (tennis), Vineland High School.

Each received commendations and proclamations at the ceremony from national, state, county, and local officials.

The winners, according to Stephen Paull, Commander of Jewish War Veterans Memorial Post 601, are selected by their respective schools, based on both scholastic and athletic achievements, as well as leadership, cooperation, civic contributions, and all-around good citizenship. The schools rely on input from guidance counselors, teachers, athletic directors, coaches, and principals. The winning students must be seniors, must have lettered in two or more varsity sports, and must be considered prime examples of good citizenship and leadership.

The students are all near or at the top of their classes. A number of past winners have been valedictorians and several have won appointments to various United States service academies.

The Beth Israel Congregation Men’s Club has been catering this breakfast since the event’s inception.

“We are proud and honored to have been part of this annual tradition for so long—an event that calls the public’s attention to our outstanding youngsters in the community who are true role models,” said Men’s Club President Elliot Terris. “Our Men’s Club, which has had many Jewish War Veterans as members, has done much over the years for our synagogue, our Jewish community, and the community at large—not only on our own, but also collaborating with other organizations such as the Jewish War Veterans.”

Paull said the students being recognized present a fine example for the future.

“The origins of this ceremony came out of a great tragedy of terrorism and murder. The students honored over the years at this ceremony are examples of the kindness and goodness that we hope will replace hatred,” he said. “We hope that they, in turn, will be the parents of and advocates for outstanding scholar/athletes honored at a future Olympiad Awards ceremony.”

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

By PNC COL (ret) Carl Singer

I wanted to briefly tell you about Alvin Sussman.  I’m humble and proud to call Alvin my friend – to me he represents the “Greatest Generation.”  Alvin is a World War II combat veteran who, like many, came home from the war and then helped build this great nation.

2016:  Alvin and I met over lunch – he has quite a story to tell.  Alvin is a sharp dresser, soft spoken, articulate.  He doesn’t like to talk about himself, but I learned that Alvin was a most successful entertainment executive.  He headed Group W Productions at Westinghouse.  Among his many credits are two popular variety shows, “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show.”  And I learned more.

1944:  The Battle of the Bulge.  Alvin was a young rifleman with G Company, 424 Regiment, 106th Infantry Division — he survived the frozen Ardennes Forest and the German attack that intelligence said would not happen.  He has vivid memories and paints a gripping, first hand picture of that historic time – 41 days in hell.

2010:  One more thing about Alvin – he is driven.  He works hard to get what he wants.  Alvin wanted a monument to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge.  Many thought it was a pipe dream – not Alvin.  He persisted and raised over $15,000.  He worked with the mayor and city council of his town and they donated park land for this monument.

Here’s a picture.  Alvin, job well done!

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018

by Martin C. Hochhauser, Post 625

Private Herman Siegel Post #625, Poughkeepsie, Jewish War Veterans of the United States, embarked on a project to identify as many Jewish veterans as possible who lived in Dutchess County, NY; not just living veterans, but as many veterans as possible from all prior eras. During our search we contacted a representative from Arlington High School who told us of their memorial to all war veterans who had attended that school.

The senior officers of Post #625 paid a visit to the school to view their “Arlington High School Wall of Remembrance” display, which takes up a significant portion of a wall near their main entrance.  The Wall is dedicated to Arlingtonians who perished during military service to our country during World War II, the Korea War, Vietnam War and Afghanistan War. The one Jewish veteran we found on the wall was Phillip E. Budd, who was killed during WW II. (Our namesake Herman Siegel was not listed because he attended Poughkeepsie HS).

A special portion of the wall is dedicated to Silver Star recipient PFC Charlie Johnson who graduated AHS in 1951 and died heroically during the Korean War.   He is widely known for single-handedly holding off enemy forces who overran Outpost Harry throughout an eight-day battle, personally saving nine wounded comrades including fellow AHS graduate Don Dingee. A sculpture on display at the high school shows Johnson dragging the wounded Dingee to safety.

The Arlington High School Wall of Remembrance is an eloquent and meaningful display honoring those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.  JWV Post #625 is grateful that we had the opportunity to visit, understand and appreciate the sacrifices of Dutchess County’s youth in times of war.  Attending were (from left) Presiding Officer Rob Rubin, Commander Ron Markowitz, Past Post Commander Robert L. Morrison, Past Post Commander Ralph Schwartz, and Chief of Staff Martin Hochhauser.

Volume 72. Number 2. Summer 2018