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Annual Education Related Awards Programs Themes

By Randy Tolliver

Quartermaster / Adjutant  / Post-6660

For veterans in crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line’s new number—988 then press “1”.  You can also still call 1-800-273-8255 and press “1”.

For homebound veteran’s requiring assistance, please contact Jay Parks at (573) 689-1477, Randy Tolliver at (573) 924-2382, or Scott Rosen at (573) 466-9188.

Our summer raffle is underway and our prizes this year are $250, $150, and $100 Visa Gift Cards. Look for our booths at various locations around the county until after the Reynolds County Fair.

VFW Auxiliary will meet at 1 P.M. on 20 August at the Donald L. Cook / Billy J. Swyres Memorial Veterans Center in Centerville. For more information, contact Denise Szafranski at (573) 300-5523 or

Our next regular post meeting will be 2 P.M on 21 August at the Post HQ in Centerville.

We still need your support to urge congress to include The Major Richard Star Act in the FY23 Nation Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The situation is this, over 50,000 medically retired veterans do not receive their full retirement pay and disability compensation. The amount of their VA disability pay is deducted from their military retired pay even though they are different benefits, earned for different reasons.  The Major Richard Star Act would allow combat-disabled retirees with fewer than 20 years of service to receive without reduction, veterans’ disability compensation and retired pay or combat-related special compensation. We ask you to call and/or write: Senator Josh Hawley, 115 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington D.C. 20510/(202) 224-6154, Senator Roy Blunt, 260 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510/(202) 224-5721, or  Congressman Jason Smith, 2418 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515.

Our annual education related awards programs Themes, Teacher of the Year, Patriot’s Pen, and Voice of Democracy are underway.  This year’s Patriot’s Pen youth theme is “My Pledge to Our Veterans”.  The Voice of Democracy audio-essay theme is “Why is the Veteran Important?” Children who are home schooled are also welcome to participate.  For more information, please contact Dr. Charles Laramore at (573) 637-2112, Jay Parks or Randy Tolliver.   

We have lost one of the last remaining WW II Navajo Code Talkers.  Marine Veteran Samuel Sandoval died in Shiprock, New Mexico, at the age of 98.  At the beginning of WWII, Military leadership recognized the critical need for an unbreakable tactical code that would help them communicate quickly while protecting their operational plans. In 1942, the U.S. Marines knew where to find it: the Navajo Nation. Marine Corps leadership selected 29 Navajo men, the Navajo Code Talkers, who created a code based on the complex, unwritten Navajo language. The code primarily used word association by assigning a Navajo word to key phrases and military tactics. This system enabled the Code Talkers to translate three lines of English in 20 seconds, not 30 minutes as was common with existing code-breaking machines. The Code Talkers participated in every major Marine operation in the Pacific theater, giving the Marines a critical advantage throughout the war. They sent thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war’s ultimate outcome. The code confounded Japanese military cryptologists and at the end of the war, the Navajo Code remained unbroken. To learn more I recommend “Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers” by Deanne Durrett.

The Civil war in Missouri – 161 years ago this week, the Union Army of the West commanded by Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon’s and Colonel Franz Sigel attached  Confederate forces under Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch and Missouri State Guard troops under Major General Sterling Price approached near Springfield, Missouri. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, was the first major battle of the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the Civil War. On August 10, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself attacked the Confederates on Wilson’s Creek approximately 10 miles southwest of Springfield. Confederate cavalry received the first blow and retreated from the high ground. Confederate infantry attacked the Union forces three times during the day but failed to break through. Eventually, Colonel Sigel’s column was pushed back to Springfield, allowing the Confederates to consolidate their forces against the Union main column commanded by Brigadier General Lyon’s.  When Ly who was killed during the battle.  When Lyons was killed, and other senior officer killed or wounded, Major Samuel D. Sturgis assumed command.  Recognizing his men were exhausted and lacked ammunition, Major Sturgis ordered a retreat to Springfield. Although a Confederate victory, the Confederate forces were too disorganized to pursue the retreating Union forces. The casualties were about equal on both sides, 1,317 Union and an estimated 1,232 Confederate /Missourian/ Arkansan soldiers. For more information, I recommend “The Civil War in Missouri 1861–1865 Centennial Book” which can be found at “”.

Now for a few reminders:

We are assembling a Desert Storm – Afghanistan exhibit at the Reynolds County Museum. If you wish to donate or lend materials, please contact Randy Tolliver no later than 31 August.

Now for a few reminders:

For more for information concerning local VA health care call the Poplar Bluff VAMC at (573) 686-4151 or

The VA one-stop telephone number is 1-800-698-2411 and press “0” to reach a live agent for immediate assistance. The VA one stop website is Home | Veterans Affairs .

The Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC) one-stop Benefits and Resource Portal is or call (573) 522-4061.

To order military service documents such as a DD 214/Separation Document or Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), contact the National Archives, National Personnel Records Center at, or call (866) 272-6272.

For more information, contact Jay Parks, Randy Tolliver, or Heather King at (573) 330-1020, or email , or go to or .

“Here to Serve”

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