Post: Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 (Dallas, Texas)

Military Service: Lt Colonel, USAF Retired (January 1967 to April 1994 — roughly equal parts Active & Reserve)

Member Since: 2015

1. Where and when did you serve in the military?

Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. 1967-69 (various admin & public affairs duties)
– Air Force Institute of Technology (at Syracuse University) 1969-70 — graduate program,
Mass Communications (TV/Radio/Film)
– Carswell AFB, Ft Worth, TX. 1970-73 (Exec. Officer, Aerospace Audiovisual Service – now Combat Camera – Detachment creating video training materials for Strategic Air Command
– U.S. Southern Command, Albrook AFB, Canal Zone, 1973-76 (Detachment Commander, AAVS)
– Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, MT. 1976-79 (Minuteman Launch Officer)
– Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX. 1980-94 (HQ Air Force News Service, “Individual Mobilization Augmentee” to the Commander, AF Broadcasting Service (i.e., “shadow commander”)

2. Why did you join the military?

For one, the dreaded draft. I joined at the height of the Vietnam build-up in early 1967. But more importantly, the opportunity to serve and spread my recent college-grad wings somewhere far away from my New York City comfort zone.

3. How did your Jewish faith impact your time in the service?

I was fortunate to be “adopted” by a Jewish family at the local Jewish Community Center within weeks of arriving at my first duty base in Arizona. I was absorbed into their extended family gatherings for High Holidays, boisterous Seders, and assorted simchas. I experienced similar connections at my other active duty assignments. For example, the base Chaplain in Montana provided a portable ark and space for monthly Shabbat services with the handful of “townie” families. The Jewish Welfare Board occasionally sent in a circuit-riding Rabbi to officiate, once for a 76-year-old local’s Bar Mitzvah!

4. Have you ever experienced anti-Semitism at home or abroad?

Rarely – at least nothing overt, beyond the occasional ignorant comment or question. Early on, a “born again” senior officer felt it his mission to “save” me with Bible verses and twisted facts; the Wing Commander caught him red-handed and halted the crusade.

5. Why did you join JWV?

Frankly, JWV wasn’t on my radar until a chance encounter at a Super Bowl watch party. The gentleman seated across from me introduced himself and asked if I was a veteran. I attended a few monthly meetings and nearly walked away (too many “grumpy old men” arguing) but was pulled-in by the Post commander to work on some needed projects.

6. How would you improve a current JWV program or what type of program do you think JWV needs to add?

– Start with visibility and credibility: As an organization, JWV has become a “best kept secret”
and a Voice of the Jewish Veteran that’s not being heard outside our own echo-chamber.
– Seek to engage Gulf War and veterans of the more recent conflicts in ways that resonate with their generation’s culture and norms. Most are raising families and have full-time jobs. Perhaps we can gain mindshare online, then transition into physical meetings as they edge toward empty-nesters and retirement.

7. What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Warm corned beef on freshly baked rye bread slathered with strong deli mustard. That, and a “real” bagel, not the ubiquitous Franken-donut pretenders served nowadays, even in New York.