September 14, 2000




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 up, OK?

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 major subject.

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.

                  YOE, Ernie Wolfe