JIM SUMNER RIDES AGAIN!
Prez STEVE started off without the mike, but when PP JIM DOWNIE came
forward to get it turned on and STEVE asked if we wanted him to repeat
what he had already said, there was a lack of positive response. Anyway,
moving on from there, the Pledge was led by CLAWSON BLEAK. Next, the aforementioned
Mr. DOWNIE was once again on his keyboard, and SLOSS VIAU led us in God
Bless America. SUSAN ALLEN combined our Four Way Test with a reminder
to tell God what we know, for an excellent Invocation. The also-aforementioned
Mr. BLEAK then had to admit failure in finding any guests to introduce,
but BRUCE ROLF introduced his wife, Marie, and PP HOWARD SISKEL did the
same for Eloise.
Prez STEVE read a nice letter from Caroline Harris, thanking the club
for the flowers delivered when BRUCE came home from his 11-day stay at
UCLA Hospital. He is hoping to be back at WVRC soon, and meantime, cards
and letters are most welcome.
The inevitable announcements followed: MARK BLOCK'S Youth Committee will
meet IN THE BAR right after lunch today. YOE would like a volunteer to
report what goes on at meetings in these kinds of places - gimme a call,
and I'll print it, OK? Prez STEVE again spoke about our Host/Hostess Program,
encouraging more couples to sign up - we have 23 now, but would certainly
hope to get some of the newer members involved with this very nice event.
Call PP HOWARD SISKEL, please.
Saturday 16 Sept - 3 to 5 p.m. Welcome Gathering for new and prospective
members at the home of Pat and PDG ANDY ANDERSON - don't forget to RSVP,
OK? Fri, Sept 22nd LA Times Literacy Breakfast at Lawry's - 0800, ANN
ELKIN. Sat, the 23rd, KEN KILPO is looking for donations and walkers for
the Heart Association.
And of course, on the 24th, the SISKEL PICNIC - bring the kids and grandchildren
- and note, that Sunday is only ten days away! Wed Sept 27th - District
Breakfast at LAX - 0700, contact JIM GREATHEAD. Now, even though it is
against my sometimes principles about keeping announcements to the month
in which we are existing, note that SPOUSES DAY will be November 9th,
featuring Charles Cappleman, who runs CBS Television City and will discuss
The Changing Face of TV Production - so sign those Significant Others
BILL MICHAEL introduced our newest member, KEN KILPO, for one of those
short Programs, which became his Craft Talk. KEN lived with his Mother
until he was 16, then moved in with his Dad, and was somewhat drifting
along, working in a gas station.
One of their customers asked him what he planned to do with his life,
and he said he had once considered the Military. The customer got him
enrolled in Community College, and he moved on to UC San Diego, graduating
with a degree in Economics. This obviously changed KEN"S life, and he
is grateful that his sponsor saw this happen, even as that gentleman was
dying from cancer.
KEN became a stockbroker for a small firm for his first three years
after graduation, and made very good money. He switched to Merrill Lynch,
but still wasn't feeling that he was where he wanted to be. So he joined
Windward Capital Management, where he is a VP. They offer six different
types of programs, depending upon what a given investor's objectives may
be, charge l% or less as a fee, and their minimum buy-in is $500,000.
Another time, KEN, tell us more about your personal life - you mentioned,
very briefly in passing, some athletic success in high school - that kind
of stuff is of more general interest to most of us. And, while I'm at
it in giving unsolicited advice, I would prefer that Craft Talks stand
alone - they are important enough not to have to share time with any other
PP DOUG DESCH was surprised to learn that he was to introduce PP JIM
SUMNER, but did his usual good job, starting out by asking what the mayonnaise
said to the refrigerator - answer, shut the door - can't you see I'm dressing?
JIM came on, starting with his immediate call to active duty after graduation,
reporting to Ft. Bragg, N.C. He recalls his first ten mile hike - with
new shoes and resultant blisters. On Dec. 7th, he didn't learn about Pearl
Harbor until 11 p.m. that night, but when he got back to Ft. Bragg, there
was real chaos. There was a rumor that German paratroops might be trying
to take Ft. Bragg (launched from submarines, apparently). He became a
company commander over 200 men, even though he was still a 2nd Lt, but
soon made lst Lt. They then shuffled his unit from Special Forces, to
Armored, finally to Amphibious.
General Patton was forming a group, and it was hard to forget his first
appearance, when Patton pointed out that you really didn't know what combat
was like until you had the guts of your best friend splashed all over
your uniform! Their unit went ashore in French Morocco, near Casablanca,
and the second night, their battalion commander disappeared. Jim stepped
forward and took over the battalion, they captured their objective and
took 400 prisoners - for this he received the Silver Star plus a battlefield
promotion to Captain.
Earlier, in training, he had met Colonel Wilbur, a reserve officer. Wilbur
went ashore before anyone else, and tried, unsuccessfully, to get the
French forces to offer no resistance. This still earned him a battlefield
promotion to General, plus the Medal of Honor. So Wilbur asked JIM to
be his aide, and they had some rousing times on Patton's staff. One evening,
an enlisted man appeared, said he was told to go to Villa 13, and Jim
accompanied him. Jim knocked on the door, and the man who opened it was
Harry Hopkins - it was his son come to visit. (Hopkins later lost his
younger son, a Marine, in fighting in the Pacific). But Jim peered into
the room, and there, in a wheelchair, was FDR! It was the first Jim ever
realized that Roosevelt was an invalid.
JIM moved to Mark Clark's Fifth Army, and in their first invasion, at
Salerno, casualties were high - there was even talk of withdrawing. Jim
was soon assigned as Battalion Executive Officer in the 36th Texas National
Guard, following the almost-complete firing of all their existing officers.
Again, somehow, his C.O disappeared, so JIM assumed command of the 3000
men in the unit. At San Pietro, casualties were almost 75%, and Jim was
wounded. After two weeks in the hospital, back to duty, and their next
fight was as they tried to cross the Rapido River. Casualties were almost
80%! On the following invasion, at Anzio, - you guessed it - JIM"S C.O.
was captured, and he once again was in charge. They bypassed Rome, but
he was badly wounded and spent several months in the hospital in Italy.
Finally returned to Walter Reid in Washington, D.C., he ended up spending
a full year in hospital. His final assignment was command of 3000 draftees,
as the war finally ended.
Q&A - is it true that you had almost no actual weapons while training
in 1942 - yes, we used sticks for rifles, logs for cannon, and only got
real weapons when we boarded transports for the invasion of North Africa.
Would 25-year-olds today fight as well as your generation did - yes, we
live up to our responsibilities. He missed sojourning in Rome, and was
discharged as a Lieutenant Colonel. JIM, thanks for sharing this with
us - we should never forget how bad war is and can be.
PLUS, the inevitable Thought for the Day - "When a man points a finger
at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing
at himself" Louis Nizer.