Old Guard Veterans Appreciation – 16 million Americans served in WWII, less than 1 million survive today. Often called the “Greatest Generation,” World War II Veterans are dying at a rate of almost 600 per day in America. We have freedom and democracy throughout the world today because of them.

Old Guard Veterans Appreciation Dinner

Mr. & Mrs Robert Pattee with Michael & Lynn Klasno and SSG Tiffony Oldham at Old Guard Veterans Appreciation Dinner Dec. 10, 2016. photos credit Steve Brack

Every one of them deserves to be thanked for their service, dedication and sacrifice and we have a very narrow window of opportunity left to honor them. So with that in mind we set out to Honor some of these amazing men and women.

Old Guard Veterans Appreciation Dinner

This year we held our “Old Guard” Veterans Appreciation Dinner at Arbor Terrace at Kingwood. Mixed in the attendance of the 100+ WWII era citizens were 30 amazing gentlemen and 2 equally amazing women.

PFC Robert Pattee – U.S. Army – Robert is half of the sweetest couple you would ever want to meet. Along with his wife Sophia they were a dynamic duo. Robert did his duty in Europe while his future wife, they hadn’t meet yet, was busy building submarines. That’s right, she was a “Rosy the Riveter” only her specialty was welding the rigging on our newest Gato-class subs.

During the Second World War, submarines comprised less than 2 percent of the U.S. Navy, but sank over 30 percent of Japan’s navy, including eight aircraft carriers. More important, American submarines sank almost five million tons of shipping—over 60 percent of the Japanese merchant marine.

Old Guard Veterans Appreciation Dinner

Gold Star Dad Michael Klasno and SSG Oldham present WWII Combat Pilot Lt Col John Brown with Certificate of Appreciation at Old Guard Veterans Appreciation Dinner.

Lt Col John Brown – U.S. Army Air Corp – John was a B24 Bomber Pilot, he actually flew just about every weapon we had in our arsenal in his 22 year career (1942-1964) but the B24 liberator was his favorite. At 98 years young he is still bright and happy and as humble about his accomplishments as any man I have ever meet.

1st Lieutenant Bonny Ball – U.S. Army Nurse – Bonnie’s medical battalion ran with Gen. George Patton chasing German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel across norther Africa. Amazing stories, I hope to get a sit down interview with her some time very soon..

Corporal Emil Trapani – U.S. Air Force – I have come to know Emil through his son Bill who is one of our volunteers. Emil spent WWII safe on an Air Force base in southern Florida training future Air Force Flight Navigators officers, he still laughs about the irony.

I want to thank the staff of Arbor Terrace at Kingwood for the wonderful facility and the amazing dinner, my complements to the chef and his kitchen crew and all the servers.

Assisting me with the certificates of appreciation was SSG Tiffony Oldham U.S.Army. Tiffony is an Army Requiter and a squared away soldier. (personal note; the men loved having you around Miss Tiffony, thank you for standing tall beside them.)

Also assisting tonight was our good friends Mr & Mrs Bill Trapani. Bill and Anne have been by our side from the beginning of our Texas adventure. As mentioned Bill is the son of one of our honorees Corporal Emil Trapani. As usual our sound man, former Navy PO3 John Koller did an outstanding job. John is always steadfast with the tunes and quick with the wit when things lagged.

Lastly I want to thank John Hornsby of Hornsby Electric. John is an amazing patriot who gives freely of his time and resources to help the Houston veteran community. Gold Star Dads is humbled that he would pick us for his companies support.

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