20 Apr

Designing The American Flag – Later Flag Facts

Later Flag Facts…

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased from 13 to 15 (to reflect the entry of Vermont and Kentucky as states of the Union). For a time the flag was not changed when subsequent states were admitted. It was the 15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, later known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”, which is now the American national anthem. The flag is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in a two-story display chamber that protects the flag while it is on view.
On April 4, 1818, a plan was passed by Congress at the suggestion of U.S. Naval Captain Samuel C. Reid in which the flag was changed to have 20 stars, with a new star to be added when each new state was admitted, but the number of stripes would be reduced to 13 so as to honor the original colonies.
The act specified that new flag designs should become official on the first July 4th.
In 1912, the 48-star flag was adopted. This was the first time that a flag act specified an official arrangement of the stars in the canton, namely six rows of eight stars each, where each star would point upward. The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, had already been using standardized designs while throughout the 19th century, different star patterns, both rectangular and circular, had been abundant in civilian use.
In 1960, the current 50-star flag was adopted, incorporating the most recent change, from 49 stars to 50, when the present design was chosen, after Hawaii gained statehood in August 1959.
49- and 50-star unions…
When Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for statehood in the 1950s, more than 1,500 designs were submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The 49- and 50-star flags were each flown for the first time at Fort McHenry on Independence Day, in 1959 and 1960 respectively.
On July 4, 2007, the 50-star flag became the version of the flag in the longest use, surpassing the 48-star flag that was used from 1912 to 1959.
“Flower Flag” arrives in Asia…
The U.S. flag was brought to the city of Canton in China in 1784 by the merchant ship Empress of China, which carried a cargo of ginseng. There it gained the designation “Flower Flag”.
According to a pseudonymous account first published in the Boston Courier and later retold by author and U.S. naval officer George H. Preble:
“When the thirteen stripes and stars first appeared at Canton, much curiosity was excited among the people. News was circulated that a strange ship had arrived from the further end of the world, bearing a flag “as beautiful as a flower”. Every body went to see the kwa kee chuen, or “flower flagship”. This name at once established itself in the language, and America is now called the kwa kee kwoh, the “flower flag country” — and an American, kwa kee kwoh yin — “flower flag countryman” — a more complimentary designation than that of “red headed barbarian” — the name first bestowed upon the Dutch.

In the above quote, the Chinese words are written phonetically based on spoken Cantonese. The names given were common usage in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Chinese now refer to the United States as Měiguó from Mandarin. Měi is short for Měilìjiān, phono-semantic matching of “American”) and “guó” means “country”, so this name is unrelated to the flag. However, the “flower flag” terminology persists in some places today: for example, American ginseng is called flower flag ginseng in Chinese, and Citibank, which opened a branch in China in 1902, is known as Flower Flag Bank.
Additionally, the seal of Shanghai Municipal Council in Shanghai International Settlement from 1869 included the U.S. flag as part of the top left-hand shield near the flag of the U.K., as the U.S. participated in the creation of this enclave in the Chinese city of Shanghai. It is also included in the badge of the Gulangyu Municipal Police in the International Settlement of Gulangyu, Amoy.
President Richard Nixon presented a U.S. flag and Moon rocks to Mao Zedong during his visit to China in 1972. They are now on display at the National Museum of China.
The U.S. flag took its first trip around the world in 1787–1790 on board the Columbia. William Driver, who coined the phrase “Old Glory”, took the U.S. flag around the world in 1831–32. The flag attracted the notice of the Japanese when an oversized version was carried to Yokohama by the steamer Great Republic as part of a round-the-world journey in 1871.

Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
30 Mar

The Historical Mystique of Rodgers Tavern Museum

A substantial house built in the Georgian Renaissance (British Baroque) style sits nestled away down a small road in Perryville, Maryland. Located adjacent to the classical Veterans Administration Campus, this stone structure sits grand and statuesque, an architectural time capsule bookmarking its position in history and physical location on the Susquehanna River. This is Rodgers Tavern Museum.
For those looking to more meaningfully connect on a deeper level with their local heritage, Rodgers Tavern Museum represents the last remaining structure of what was once a thriving commerce and military settlement on the east side of the Susquehanna River, directly across from the Town of Havre de Grace. Many know Havre de Grace, or Grace Harbor as the English translation goes, and have seen the proud statue of the French General Marqui de Lafayette who gave the town its namesake. So, when the intellectual and revolutionary giants of the 18th century, like Lafayette, Washington, Hamilton and even Rochambeau have local roots, rightfully this history is worth examining further.
Located at 249 East Broad Street, Rodgers Tavern Museum, completed in 1790, “is the sole survivor of the early settlement of this area, facilitated by travel along the post road between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The stone tavern sits along the east bank of the Susquehanna River, near the site of the ferry established in 1695, linking what later became Perryville and Havre de Grace. Opening as the Ferry House, it was purchased in 1780 by John Rodgers. It became a favorite stopping place for such notable Revolutionary War figures as George Washington and French generals Lafayette and Rochambeau” (Davidson & Lavoie).
What did these figures talk about, and what topics did they discuss? Surely, Washington, Hamilton, Lafayette and Rochambeau were conducting strategic meetings as they coordinated military and supply movements in the face of the British incursion. At Rodgers Tavern, the seeds of America were being sown in the candlelit rooms of grave and purposeful discussions among men who would be called “revolutionaries”. Indeed, the main goal in mind was independence, and that goal they surely achieved.
Originally known as Stevenson Tavern, the structure was the site of the raising of the 5th Company of Maryland Militia of the Revolutionary War, headed by none other than Colonel John Rodgers. Fascinatingly, Colonel Rogers was charged with raising (upon a direct recommendation from Washington and then ratified by Congressional order) a militia consisting of men from Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, then colonies. Thus, at this early phase of the conflict, Colonel Rodgers raised one of the first “Flying Camps” which represented an able battalion of 10,000 colonists, now soldiers, to be a lean and agile mobile unit whose primary objective would be to defend large tracts of territory from the British.
According to Gene Pisasale, American historian, author and lecturer, “It wasn’t just Washington who slept there; numerous other Founding Fathers and supporters of the American cause, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, the Marquis de Lafayette and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, the comte de Rochambeau, whose French troops were vital to Washington’s victory at the historic Battle of Yorktown also spent time at Rodgers Tavern.”
The fledgling alliance between the colonial revolutionaries and the French intellectual and military elite alliance represented the cross-section of mutual interests being driven by political forces, but also the intellectual spring of thought originated during The Enlightenment, where in Paris, patriots and thinkers would convene at taverns to discuss the state of things, in what would eventually be known as the French “salons”.
Thus, a historic alliance was built and forged at Rodgers Tavern, and as we now know, America would emerge victorious against the British, finally winning our Independence. So, miles across the Atlantic, on the Susquehanna River between a small ferry crossing, the United States was being formed. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate and honor the historical significance of Rodgers Tavern Museum in Perryville, MD.
Source: “Rodgers Tavern Museum (Rodgers Tavern)”, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), Archipedia Rotunda
Source: “Rodgers Tavern—a stopover point for our Founding Fathers”, Gene Pisasale & Tricia Hoadley, Cecil County Life, Dec 2019

Read the full VOM Spring 2024 Magazine Here:

Read More
Days to Display the US Flag- VOM Magazine - Delaware
23 Mar

Days to Display the Flag (March 2024- May 2024)

Holidays to Display Flag
March – May 2024 Spring Issue
· National Vietnam War Veterans Day
– March 29, 2017
· Good Friday – March 29
· Somalia Campaign Ended – March 31, 1995
· Easter Sunday – March 31
· Mother’s Day – May 12
· Peace Officers Memorial Day
– May 15 (1/2 staff until sunset)
· Women’s Army Corp Founded – May 15, 1942
· Armed Forces Day – May 18
· Memorial Day – May 27 (1/2 staff until noon)
Non-Flag Display Days
· Asiatic Fleet Memorial Day – March 1
· “Star Spangled Banner” Made U.S. National
Anthem – March 3, 1931
· Daylight Savings Time Begins – March 10
(set clocks ahead one hour)
· Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Founded
– March 12, 1912
· St Patricks Day – March 17
· Iraq War Began – March 19, 2003
· Spring Begins – March 20
· Purim Begins – March 23
· Kosovo Campaign Began – March 24, 1999
· Palm Sunday – March 24
· April Fools Day – April 1
· Army Day – April 6
· Persian Gulf War Official Cease Fire – April 11, 1991
· Income Tax Day – April 15
· Earth Day – April 22
· Passover Begins – April 22
· Administrative Professional Day – April 24
· Arbor Day – April 26
· Law/Loyalty Day – May 1
· National Day of Prayer – May 2
· Orthodox Easter – May 5
· Nurses Day – May 6
· Unconditional Surrender of all German Forces
Signed – May 7, 1945
· V-E Day Declared – May 8, 1945
· Military Spouses Day – May 10
· Victoria Day (Canada) – May 20
· National Maritime Day – May 22

Read More
24 Feb

Designing The American Flag – Stripes and Stars

Designer of the First Stripes and Stars

Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a naval flag designer and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, designed a flag in 1777 while he was the chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Dept. Hopkinson also claimed that he designed a flag for the U.S. Navy. Hopkinson was the only person to have made such a claim during his own life when he sent a letter and several bills to Congress for his work. Hopkinson initially wrote a letter to Congress, via the Continental Board of Admiralty, on May 25, 1780. In this letter, he asked for a “Quarter Cask of the Public Wine” as payment for designing the U.S. flag, the seal for the Admiralty Board, the seal for the Treasury Board, Continental currency, the Great Seal of the United States, and other devices.

However, in three subsequent bills to Congress, he asked to be paid in cash, but instead of his U.S. flag design, he asked to be paid for designing the “great Naval Flag of the United States” in the first bill; the “Naval Flag of the United States” in the second bill; and “the Naval Flag of the States” in the third, along with the other items. The flag references were generic terms for the naval ensign that Hopkinson had designed: a flag of seven red stripes and six white ones. The predominance of red stripes made the naval flag more visible against the sky on a ship at sea. By contrast, Hopkinson’s flag for the U.S. had seven white stripes and six red ones – in reality, six red stripes laid on a white background.

Hopkinson’s sketches have not been found, but we can make these conclusions because Hopkinson incorporated different stripe arrangements in the Admiralty (naval) Seal that he designed in the Spring of 1780 and the Great Seal of the United States that he proposed at the same time. His Admiralty Seal had seven red stripes; whereas his second U.S. Seal proposal had seven white ones. Remnants of Hopkinson’s U.S. flag of seven white stripes can be found in the Great Seal of the United States and the President’s seal. When he was chairman of the Navy Board, his position was like that of today’s Secretary of the Navy. The payment was not made, most likely, because other people had contributed to designing the Great Seal of the United States, and because it was determined he already received a salary as a member of Congress. This contradicts the legend of the Betsy Ross flag, which suggests that she sewed the first Stars and Stripes flag at the request of the government in Spring 1776.

On May 10, 1779, a letter from the War Board to George Washington stated that there was still no design established for a national standard, on which to base regimental standards, but also referenced flag requirements given to the board by General von Steuben. On September 3rd, Richard Peters submitted to Washington “Drafts of a Standard” and asked for his “Ideas of the Plan of the Standard,” adding that the War Board preferred a design they viewed as “a variant for the Marine Flag.” Washington agreed that he preferred “the standard, with the Union and Emblems in the center.” The drafts are lost to history but are likely to be similar to the first Jack of the United States.

The origin of the stars and stripes design has been muddled by a story disseminated by the descendants of Betsy Ross. The story credits Ross for sewing one of the first flags from a pencil sketch handed to her by George Washington. No such evidence exists either in Washington’s diaries or the Continental Congress’s records.
Indeed, nearly a century passed before Ross’s grandson, William Canby, first publicly suggested the story in 1870. By her family’s own admission, Ross ran an upholstery business, and she had never made a flag as of the visit in June 1776. Furthermore, her grandson admitted that his own search through the Journals of Congress and other official records failed to find corroborating evidence for his grandmother’s story.

George Henry Preble states in his 1882 text that no combined stars and stripes flag was in common use prior to June 1777, and that no one knows who designed that flag. Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich argues that there was no “first flag” worth arguing over. Researchers accept that the United States flag evolved, and did not have one design. Marla Miller writes, “The flag, like the Revolution it represents, was the work of many hands.” The family of Rebecca Young claimed that she sewed the first flag. Young’s daughter was Mary Pickersgill, who made the Star-Spangled Banner Flag.
She was assisted by Grace Wisher, a 13-year-old African American girl.


Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
17 Feb

Business of the Quarter – The Elkton Vet Center

Business of the Quarter: The Elkton Vet Center

Vet Centers have been providing a safe place for Veterans, Service Members, and their families to talk and heal for over 43 years.The Elkton Vet Center was one of the earliest Vet Centers established by the Department of Veterans Affairs, opening its doors at the beginning of January 1980.
Vet Centers are conveniently located in community settings. We have a welcoming and non-clinical environment. Vet Centers are about Community, Camaraderie and Connections. We offer counseling, referrals, and community engagement to create a greater support system. We always have coffee, and it is a safe gathering place for support and camaraderie.
The Elkton Vet Center is within 15 miles of the Perry Point Veterans Administration Medical Center. We are also located in a tristate area; therefore, we serve veterans in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.


Our Vet Center mission is to provide a wide variety of services for the veteran community including resource connection for any veteran. For veterans who meet our eligibility criteria we can provide individual, family, couples, and group therapy. We provide a variety of groups including war zone era, family support, walking and yoga groups. We specialize in treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma and bereavement. Our therapists are all trained in at least one evidenced based practice for PTSD such as Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy and Eye

Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. We also provide therapeutic outings for the veterans we serve including an annual fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay.The Elkton Vet Center is located at 103 Chesapeake Blvd., serves Cecil County, Harford County, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The main office is in Elkton, with two additional locations, one in Aberdeen, and in Salisbury, MD. We have community access points along the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For more information call us at 410-392-4485.

Located in Elkton at 103 Chesapeake Blvd, Suite A, Elkton, MD. Direct line: (410)-392-4485
Satellite Locations: 223 West Bel Air Ave Aberdeen. MD 926 Snow Hill Rd Salisbury, MD.





Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
10 Feb

Financial Focus – Can You Make Charitable Giving Less

This article was written by Edward Jones for us by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Tyler Simonds. Edward Jones, Member SIPC. You can reach Tyler at 410-398-4214

Can you Make Charitable Giving Less

It’s the season of generosity. In addition to considering gifts for your loved ones, you might want to think about charitable gifts as well. But what should you know before making gifts to charities? And what impact might these gifts have on your financial and tax situation?

First, you may want to create a gift budget by deciding just how much you will give to charitable organizations over the rest of the year.
Next, look closely at the groups to whom you wish to contribute. You can find many reputable charities, but some others may be less worthy of your support. One of the red flags of a questionable organization is the amount of money it spends on administrative costs versus the amount that goes to its stated purpose. You can check on the spending patterns of charitable groups, and find other valuable information about them, on the well-regarded
Once you’ve established a gift budget and are comfortable with the groups you choose to support, you might turn your thoughts to another key issue connected with charitable giving: tax benefits. Changes in the tax laws resulted in an increase in the standard deduction, which meant that many taxpayers found it more favorable not to itemize. But if you still do itemize, your charitable gifts or contributions to those that qualify as 501(c)(3) organizations — can generally be deducted, up to 60% of your adjusted gross income, although lower limits may apply, depending on the nature of your gift and the organization to which you’re contributing.

Long-term avenues also exist that combine charitable giving with potential tax benefits.
One possibility is a donor-advised fund, which allows you to make an irrevocable charitable contribution and receive an immediate tax deduction. You can give cash, but if you donate appreciated assets, such as stocks, your tax deduction would be the fair market value of the assets, up to 30% of your adjusted gross income. Plus, you would not incur the capital gains tax that would otherwise be due upon the sale of these assets. Once you establish a donor-advised fund, you have the flexibility to make charitable gifts over time, and you can contribute to the fund as often as you like.

Another possible tax benefit from making charitable contributions could arrive when you start taking required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from some of your retirement accounts, such as your traditional IRA and 401(k). These RMDs could be sizable — and distributions are counted as taxable income. But by taking what’s called a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), you can move money from a traditional or Roth IRA to a qualified charitable organization, possibly satisfying your RMD, which then may be excluded from your taxable income.
Establishing a donor-advised fund and making qualified charitable distributions are significant moves, so consult with your tax advisor first. But if they’re appropriate for your situation, they may help you expand your ability to support the charitable groups whose work you admire.
Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
03 Feb

Female Veteran of the Quarter – Shannon Ayres

This article features Shannon Ayres

Daughter of a Naval Aviator, I enlisted into active duty Air Force out of Louisville, KY in 1996, traveling the world in the back of AWACS as a radar technician. Upon completion of my enlistment, I joined the DE Air National Guard, flying in the back of C130s as an inflight medic. However, in 2002, I graduated with a bachelor’s from Wilmington University and headed off to pilot training. This time, I was flying all over the world but had a front view window.

On the first deployment to Afghanistan in 2005, a friend and C130 crew chief completed suicide. I was determined then to do what I could to help any veteran struggling or suffering in silence. I returned to Wilmington University’s graduate counseling program to work in the VA.
I have been a counselor for over a decade and enjoy welcoming home veterans in the Elkton Vet center since 2020. Coming to work here feels a little like ‘coming home’ for me as well.

Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
27 Jan

Lymphatic System 101

By: Rebecca Hummer of Pura Vida Yoga & Physical Training in Maryland

The lymphatic system, or lymphoid system, is an organ system that is part of the immune system, and complementary to the circulatory system. It consists of a large network of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymphoid organs, lymphoid tissues and lymph. Lymph is a clear fluid carried by the lymphatic vessels back to the heart for re-circulation. (The Latin word for lymph, lympha, refers to the deity of fresh water, “Lympha”). One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is to provide an accessory return route to the blood for the surplus. The other main function is that of immune defense.What are the symptoms of a poor lymphatic system?

Symptoms of lymphoedema:

• an aching, heavy feeling.
• difficulty with movement.
• repeated skin infections.
• the skin becoming hard and tight.
• folds developing in the skin
• a leakage of fluid through the skin.
The build-up of fluid in the tissues of people with lymphoedema may be a sign they are more vulnerable to infection. A bacterial infection of the skin called cellulitis is common in people with the condition.

There are two main types of lymphoedema:

• Primary lymphoedema: caused by faulty genes affecting the development of the lymphatic system; it can develop at any age, but usually occurs in early adulthood.
Secondary lymphoedema: caused by damage to the lymphatic system or problems with the movement and drainage of fluid in the lymphatic system, often due to an infection, injury, cancer treatment, inflammation of the limb or a lack of limb movement.

How do you detox your lymphatic system?

Regular physical exercise is a key tool to get your lymphatic system pumping and detoxing your system of waste. Jumping, dancing, walking, stretching, YOGA, and other moderate exercises done on a daily basis will improve the state of your lymph. Wearing compression garments, tending to your your skin, having a healthy diet and lifestyle, and using manual or simple massage techniques help.

There are two types of lymphatic drainage:

Manual: A qualified therapist will perform manual lymphatic drainage.
Simple: Simple lymphatic drainage is a technique a person can use at home.
However, this type of massage may not be suitable or safe for some people, for example, if they have cellulitis or a heart condition. People should speak with a doctor before using lymphatic massage.

What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?
• Debloats and depuffs.
• Breaks down cellulite and fat cells.
• Gives skin a glow.
• Helps with post-injury swelling.
• Eases tension in the body.

Lymphatic breathing is a tool! Deep breathing acts like a pump that helps move fluid through the vessels and lymph nodes. Follow the steps below:
1. Place both hands on the ribs.
2. Take slow, deep breaths and feel the air
move down to the abdomen.
3. Slowly sigh the air out through the mouth.
4. Rest between breaths and repeat five times.

Simple Lymphatic Massage for front/sides of the neck and chest:
1. Place the index and middle fingers of each hand on either side of the neck, just below the earlobe.
2. Stretch the skin by gently sliding the fingers down toward the shoulders, then release.
3. Repeat 10–15 times.
4. Move the hands down and repeat until you have massaged the whole neck.

Place the palm flat on the opposite side of the chest, slightly above the breast:
1. Move the hand up the chest and over the collarbone.
2. Continue up the neck until the skin covering the chest feels tight, then release.

Under the arms and fingers: Prepare the lymph nodes under the arms to help them accept lymph fluid from other areas.
1. Cup the palm under the armpit.
2. Gently pump the palm upward and toward the body.
3. Repeat on the other arm.

To massage the fingers:
1. Start at the base of the swollen finger close to the palm.
2. Use the index finger and thumb to stretch the skin on the finger toward the hand.
3. Continue this motion over the entire finger.
4. Remember to direct fluid toward the hand.

Behind the knees and toes:
1. Place both hands behind the knee so the fingers point toward each other.
2. Pump the back of the knee by gently pressing the hands into the back of the knee and rolling them upward.
3. Repeat on the other knee.

To massage the toes:
Use the thumb and index finger and stroke the skin from the tip of each toe toward the base.
It is vital to always end the massage by drinking extra fluids. People should use light pressure during the massage and avoid any areas with swelling. People who think that they could benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage should speak with a primary care or physical therapist, preferably one who specializes in treating lymphedema.
Utilizing these tools may assist in the health of and/or improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system and aid with lymphedema. 

Explore more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
20 Jan

Veteran of the Quarter – Joel (Skip) Leeson

This article features Commander Joel (Skip) Leeson of th U.S. Navy

Joel (Skip) Leeson, of Middletown, DE, was living in Woodbridge, New Jersey when he was accepted into Rutgers University.
Following college, he joined the Navy. He went to Officer Candidate School in 1967. At 22 years of age, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and spent 2 ½ years on active duty. When he came home, Skip became a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, drilling on weekends, and working for Mine Forces.

He shared that back then, “Officer Candidate School was not the most pleasant. They tended to cram as much as possible into four months of training.” He graduated as Color Company Commander and received six awards. After that, he went to Anti-Submarine Warfare School in Key West, Florida before being assigned to a destroyer, the USS Buck DD-761, off the coast of Vietnam. Skip said his biggest concern was that they were the first ship in the Sea of Japan when the USS Pueblo was taken by the North Koreans. They were the designated ship to go into Wonsan Harbor and get it back if the order was given. Thankfully, the order was not given. He became an ASW (Anti-Sub Warfare) Officer and Gunnery Plot Officer. His most important job was standing bridge watches as the Officer of the Deck and running the ship. As Gunnery Plot Officer he was responsible for shore bombardments.

At that time, Vietnam was divided into five sections north to south. 1 Corps was the DMZ (demilitarized zone). 5 Corps was the Mekong Delta. The Ship worked mostly off 3 Corps, at the mouth of the Saigon River, where his Destroyer was assigned to help the Australians. We even parked in the mouth of the Saigon River to help the River Patrols. We were also called to protect USS New Jersey BB-62 off 1 Corps on the DMZ.

Our ship was never shot at, even though it went into harm’s way a few times. He managed to stay in touch with family by mail. He did get some treats in return mail, but the “mail was always late.” There are no breaks at sea; he did two bridge watches a day and refueled at sea every three days, so there was lots of paperwork to do.
A typical day was reveille at 6 am. Breakfast 6:30 to 7:30. Commence ship’s work 8-11, Lunch 11 to 12:30. Continue ship’s work until 4:30. Dinner 6-7 pm. Taps at 10. In addition, depending on the number of watch sections, standing Bridge watches 2 or 3 times a day. Then doing paperwork, gun shots, flying DASH (drone antisubmarine helicopter, remote controlled), Underway replenishment every 2 to 3 days (mostly refueling). Skip has stayed in touch with many of his officer shipmates; one lives in Australia, one in Guam, and some others are in the United States. After his discharge from duty in 1969, he joined the VFW. He also stayed in the reserves and retired as a Commander.

In 1982 he was chosen to command the Naval Reserve Unit attached to the USS New Jersey. It was his second Ship Reserve crew Command, the first being USS Arkansas CGN-41. Both Arkansas and New Jersey were start-up units. The USS New Jersey was stationed off the coast of Beirut in 1983-84 and was not given a relief. As Commanding Officer and as part of the reserve unit, the Chief of Naval Reserve was contacted and an airlift to the ship to relieve part of the crew was obtained with the help of USS New Jersey CO.

It was so successful, five additional flights were scheduled, and reservists from all over the country volunteered. Reservists, during this action, relieved over half the crew (700) in increments, so they were able to go home on leave. It was the largest peacetime crew relief in the history of the Navy.Where do you go from here? To US Forces Caribbean reserve unit drilling in Wilkes Barre, PA. Having to do simulated confrontations in the Gulf of Mexico. That then became US Forces Atlantic and went to Norfolk for some drill weekends to help out Desert Shield.

I cannot express how much I miss the Navy and comradeship with the other services. I still work on what is now the Battleship New Jersey Museum in Camden, NJ. I help mostly with tours and Overnight Encampments where we stay overnight with families and scouts. Makes me feel like I still am accomplishing something.
Read more articles from VOM Magazine here:

Read More
13 Jan

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America written by Lishmarie Hunter

The holidays bring out many traditions and sometimes we do not know where these traditions come from. We see trees and wreaths throughout the season… But where and when did these traditions start? Specifically, what is the symbolism of the ‘Christmas Wreath’?
It is believed that advent wreaths may have been first used by Lutherans in Germany in the 16th century. The very first record of this custom, was in 1833. It was done by a Lutheran clergyman who lit a candle in a wreath every Sunday. He then told the story of the nativity. This custom spread to homes and churches throughout time and now also continues by various organizations.
The organization best known for this tradition is aptly named Wreaths Across America (WAA). They began their work in 2007, with the Worcester family, along with the support of veteran organizations, groups, and individuals who had helped with the original annual veterans wreath ceremony in Arlington. They later formed the official WAA non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, in order to continue and expand their efforts, and to support others.
The annual trip to Arlington, along with the groups of volunteers eager to participate in Worcester’s simple wreath-laying event, continued to grow each year until it became clear that the desire to remember and honor our country’s fallen heroes was bigger than imagined.

The mission of Wreaths Across America was and is: Remember. Honor. Teach.

After the first year, over 300 locations held wreaths-laying ceremonies in every state, including Puerto Rico and 24 overseas locations. More than 100,00 wreaths were place on graves by over 60,000 volunteers. December 13, 2008 was voted by U.S. Congress as Wreaths Across America Day.
In 2014, the goal of placing 226,525 wreaths on every veteran’s grave markers was met with the assistance of sponsors and volunteers. In 2018, by invitation of the American Battle Monuments Commission, a wreath ceremony was held to honor the nearly 10,000 service members buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in France.
In 2022, WAA and volunteers placed approx. 2.7 million wreaths on veteran headstones at 3,702 locations. This was accomplished with the support of more than 5,000 groups and corporations, and donations from transportation industries.
This tradition held annually on the second or third Saturday each December. The WAA journey from Harrington, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery is known as “the world’s largest veteran’s parade.”


You can read the rest of our VOM Winter 2023 Magazine Edition Here:

Read More