SOMOVHPA 1st Quarter Meeting
The November meeting was held in the Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks (CofO) near Branson, MO. We had a good turnout of 40 attendees, including Dr. Jerry Davis the Chancellor and his wife Shirley and the new President of CofO Dr. Brad Johnson and his wife Laura.
After the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer, offered by Ron Clifton our Chaplain, the meeting began with a Folded Wing Ceremony conducted by Don Merritt and his wife Karen. This ceremony honors the memory of 19 of our members who have passed since the founding of the chapter. As each name was read, a bell was struck. Upon completion, TAPS was played and a final prayer was offered by the Chaplain. These fellow aviators fought with us, fought for us and are remembered by us.
Our speaker for the meeting was CW5 (ret) Greg McManus. Greg started his flying career in Vietnam in 1969 where he flew Cobra gunships and Hueys. He joined the Missouri National Guard in 1974 where he served as an Instructor Pilot, Standardization Pilot, Instrument Examiner and Aviation Safety Officer. He then served in Iraq from 2005 to 2007 where he developed tactical SOPs that are still in use by Army commands in SW Asia. Over his career, Greg accumulated over 16,200 flying hours in both airplanes and helicopters. In addition, he is the only Warrant Officer to attend and graduate from the Army’s Command and General Staff College.
Greg’s Powerpoint program documented his personal experiences in both Vietnam and Iraq and reminded us of the purpose and challenges of military service, as well as the ultimate costs we bear. It brought back memories of our own personal experiences in Vietnam and of those with whom we served. It was an excellent presentation.
Next, newly inaugurated CofO President Dr. Brad Johnson welcomed us to the campus and thanked us for our service to the Country. The CofO is a strong supporter of Patriotism having it as one of the 5 Fundamental Mission Pillars. To support this Pillar, the College has established the Knight Center for Patriotic Education. In addition, the military museum in the Keeter Center honors many CofO graduates who served with distinction and paid the ultimate price for Freedom in every major conflict for over 100 years.
The Patriotic Education Dept. has developed a kit to send to high schools who wish to add patriotic education to their curriculum and expand awareness of the value of military service. John Sorensen was presented with a kit containing a copy of Dr. Davis’s book Vietnam 101, a workbook for classroom application and a DVD of an interview John gave to the school on his Vietnam experiences. The presentation was made by Dr. Brad Johnson, Dr. Jerry Davis and Dr. Andrew Bolger.
A business meeting was then conducted beginning with the award of a
quilt to Dr. Jerry Davis, Chancellor of the CofO. The quilt was made by Liz Sorensen, Pat Clifton and Kathleen Sherfey and presented in appreciation of our long, personal relationship with Dr. Davis and his strong patriotic support for veterans and the U.S. military.
John Sorensen gave a detailed Treasurer’s report which found the Chapter in a positive financial position. He then related that our Chapter endowment with the CofO has now grown to $20,355. The interest generated from the endowment allows the Chapter to award annual scholarships to deserving CofO students.
The drawing for our annual fundraiser was won by Don Merritt. He received a beautiful quilt made by our chapter quilters. Money raised by the raffle goes to our CofO scholarship endowment fund.
Two of our members recently went on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. along with 79 other veterans and their Guardians. Tom Marty and Chuck Guy experienced a very special day filled with visits to many of our treasured monuments. The changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was especially solemn. While at Arlington, we were able to visit the stone memorial honoring the helicopter pilots and crewmembers who lost their lives in the Vietnam war.
The need for volunteers to fill two open Officer positions- Vice President and Secretary was then discussed. The Chapter has been very successful over the last 13 years because of those who stepped up and took leadership roles. Members are asked to please consider these positions as opportunities to serve and to keep our Chapter strong. We are a voice for all who flew helicopters during the Vietnam war.
The subject of the bios found in the TAPS section of the Aviator magazine was then discussed. Copies of a Veteran Biographical Data Form were distributed to each table. The form was developed by the Rocky Mountain Chapter in Colorado as a way of gathering information about our military experiences and awards. This information will assist Chapters, families and the Aviator publishing staff to prepare appropriate bios when needed. The form will be added to our website for easy access- vhpasmo.net
The Chapter meets quarterly at locations of aviation and/or military interest and is open to all members and spouses, as well as anyone interested in Joining us. We have members all around the State of Missouri and try to hold our meetings in different areas of the State to facilitate attendance. Anyone wanting to know more about us or anyone who has an idea for a meeting location may contact me at 520-820-7339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chuck Guy, Chapter President
John Sorensen, the official greeter.
Owensville Post did a great job.
John Sorensen holds court.
John Sorensen, the official greeter.