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03-24 Tolan Family Dundraiser


In 2014, 100 WWII veterans were at this SLO luncheon. This year, there were 10

Veteran (Department of Defense)

In 2014, More than 100 World War II veterans — soldiers, sailors and Marines — were honored in a luncheon in San Luis Obispo. That number at a similar event [last month] was closer to 10.

Joseph Brocato, who served in the Navy during the Cuban missile crisis and came up with the idea of regular luncheons to pay tribute to local military vets, said part of the challenge now is getting in touch with those who served more than 70 years after the war ended.

“I’ve managed to keep telephone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses,” Brocato said, adding that when a phone number comes up as disconnected, “You know what that means.”

Still, a small but vibrant band of WWII vets gathered […] to trade stories, catch up and eat lunch at the San Luis Obispo Country Club. Brocato said these get-togethers are always jocular affairs.

“Everybody likes to tease the Marines,” he said, for their “hard-charging” nature. “It’s all in fun. Everybody knows they all depended on each other (in the war).”

Take retired Navy Lt. Thomas Coryell.

The son of Navy Capt. Clyde W. Coryell, who commanded the Navy Seabees in France, Thomas Coryell served as gunnery officer on board the USS Washington during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where more than 6,800 U.S. servicemen were killed.

“We shouldn’t have been there,” Coryell said, describing how the ship unwittingly found itself in the fight.

Once there, the Washington was tasked with providing cover fire for the U.S. combatants.

“I had the unenviable job of finding out how we could shoot on the island without hitting our Marines,” Coryell said. “We didn’t hit them.”

Coryell, who left the Navy in 1945, reflected on the toll the war placed on what would one day come to be called the Greatest Generation.

“Young men had to grow up in a hurry,” he said.

While Tuesday’s event was inspired by a series of luncheons honoring World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War vets in 2014, 2015 and 2016, successively, Brocato said the occasion was largely “spur of the moment.”

He said it’s important to take time to toast veterans while they are still here.

“It’s really a tangible expression of, ‘Thank you for your service,’ ” he said of the luncheon.

Brocato expressed hopefulness that there would be more occasions to do so.

“I plan on having another one next year,” he said.

Commander's Corner

COMMANDER’S CORNER Greetings Legion Family! The Post reopened on January 3rd with a new parking lot. Then we had a full member/guest dinner night on January 10th and 24th. Great to get into the New Year’s Spirit. Thank you!

Please join us on February 4th for a Super Bowl Potluck Party from 2:00 until the Super Bowl is over. On Monday, February 12th from 6-8PM we will have Member Orientation/CPR and AED (defibrillator) training. Then, February 14th is Valentine’s Day and a great member/guest dinner is planned. In addition, we will have the “In Time Trio,” singers entertaining us during dinner once again.

Be sure to invite a member that you have not seen at the Post recently and bring a new guest also. We need new members and the late dues of many of our regular members.

Commander Dan Dale


Medal of Honor story: Leroy Petry

We hosted a special breakfast for The American Legion National Commander that was attended by the 2008 Presidential Medal of Honor Recipient Ret. Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry.

This short video tells the story of Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry, a true American hero!

65 years ago, this SLO veteran fought in Korea.


Click here to watch video.

San Luis Obispo native Dennis Perozzi Jr. arrived in Korea in January 1952 at the age of 25 on a bitterly cold winter day. In this video, military veteran Perozzi, now 92, talks about his experiences in the infantry amid current escalating tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear testing. David Middlecamp The Tribune


November 10, 2017 10:13 AM

San Luis Obispo native Dennis Perozzi Jr. arrived in Korea in January 1952 at the age of 25 on a bitterly cold winter day. The temperature was 32 degrees below zero, and he wore six layers of clothing.

Over the next 10 months, Perozzi served as an Army rifleman, fighting in a battle at Old Baldy Hill that cost 125 American lives (he was one of 60 in his company to survive). On another battle at Pork Chop Hill, 32 of his fellow soldiers were killed or wounded.

Today, the 92-year-old Perozzi rarely talks about his war experience, which included combat missions in what is now North Korea. But he does think about it occasionally.

As he observes Veterans Day this year, the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea carry shadows of the past and spark memories of Perozzi’s time at war.


Dennis Perozzi Jr., 92, served 10 months in the Korean conflict in 1951-52. He was an Army infantryman and earned the Bronze Star and other citations.
David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The North attacked the South on June 25, 1950, on the 38th parallel that divided the two sides in an effort to unify the country, thus launching the war.

Perozzi spent much of his time in Korea north of the demarcation line, describing the landscape as “all hills with little valleys and not too many trees, at least not tall trees like we have here.”

Because of his location in the North, he didn’t really get to know Korean people or develop a strong sense of the culture.

He acknowledged battling nerves, saying that’s understandable. During one battle, Perozzi’s flak jacket protected him from mortar fragments, blocking shell pieces from penetrating his body.

“You’re scared, but you do what you’re trained to do,” he said.


The fighting today would be completley different. It would be all missles. If Something happens, there's going to be so many casualties on all sides, it's unbelievable.
Dennis Perozzi Jr., Korean War veteran

Three Vietnam veterans reunite after 50 years

By Michael Hjelmstad

In 1967, three young U.S. Army infantrymen serving in Vietnam on an overgrow jungle island south of Saigon laughed together and became the kind of friends only those who’ve been through war really know. They all survived, even though they didn’t know it after being separated during the war.

Until The American Legion’s recent national convention in Reno, Nev., it had been 50 years since Hugh Crooks, Gordon Clapp and Robert Ryan had seen each other. But despite all the years that have passed since their time in Vietnam, the old friends smiled, laughed, joked and reminisced like they were still in their 20s.

As the three men finally met up at the National Convention, they recalled their days and memories together with stories and details that ranged from terrible to hysterically funny.

Ryan and Crooks met at the induction center after being drafted. Ryan inserted himself into a line in front of Crooks because he heard it was the one for training at Fort Ord, Calif., rather than Fort Bliss, Texas. They sat together on the bus and started a salty friendship neither of them knew would continue over 50 years.

After training they were all three stationed with A Company 3/39 of the 9th Infantry Division, Republic of Vietnam on an island known as the French Fort. Crooks was told he was really lucky to be assigned to this duty. ( Read the rest of the story - HERE )

Post 66 & SLO VA Clinic Coffee

by Richard Pushies


(Pictured are: Dan Dale, Post 66 Commander, David Glidden, Post 66 2nd. Vice Commander, Mike Knight, Post 66 member & owner of Coastal Peaks Coffee and Larry Foster, VA Voluntary Service Specialist. Don Marriott, Legion Riders Chapter 66 President is not pictured.)

Post 66, Legion Riders Chapter 66 and Post 66 Member, Mike Knight, owner of Coastal Peaks Coffee have joined together to support the Donaldson Mark-VA San Luis Obispo Clinic by providing coffee supplies for their veterans waiting to be treated. This is one small example of how Post 66 serves the veterans of our community. In this example, we help serve our veterans coffee, which is a small, but appreciated service. If you have ever sat in a medical clinic (VA or community) and waited a long time to be seen by a health care provider, having a good cup of coffee while you wait is definitely appreciated. It just is. In the picture, Larry Foster, VA Voluntary Service Specialist presented a plaque of appreciation to Post 66, Chapter 66 and Coastal Peaks Coffee for their generosity in supporting the veterans being served at the VA San Luis Obispo Clinic. The plaque will sit on the coffee table to remind our veterans who is providing their coffee.

Through a Post 66 member who visits the Santa Maria VA Clinic, we found out the Santa Maria VA Clinic has been providing coffee, creamer and sugar for the SLO clinic from the excess donations they receive in Santa Maria. Sometimes the supply of coffee from Santa Maria is not enough. Since government facilities, like VA clinics are not allowed to solicit donations, once we found out about the shortfall of coffee from Santa Maria, we decided to give the clinic a hand. After Post 66 Commander, Dan Dale and Legion Rider's President, Don Marriott found out the VA Clinic need help with coffee, they soon received commitments from their membership to support the cost of providing coffee supplies. When Commander Dale approached Mike Knight, owner of Coastal peaks Coffee, he too joined in to help support the Post 66 in providing coffee for the veterans at the SLO VA Clinic. Good Legionnaires working together can do plenty of good work in supporting our veterans.

This is a simple, but good example of how The American Legion, Post 66, Riders Chapter 66 and a few good members can use a little "Mutual Helpfulness" to provide support for our local veterans.


Legion reaffirms 94-year-old statement aimed at hate groups

 August 22, 2017

The American Legion today re-affirmed an existing position first passed nearly a century ago that is aimed squarely at groups that espouse racist beliefs.

“In 1923, The American Legion passed a national resolution at our convention in San Francisco that is as relevant today as it was 94 years ago,” National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said after the Legion’s National Executive Committee unanimously reaffirmed National Resolution 407, titled “Law Enforcement and Tolerance.”

First passed when many destructive forces were harming American society, the resolution resolves that “The American Legion considers any individual, group of individuals, or organizations, which creates, or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties, and destructive to our fundamental law.”

The statement also further resolved that “The American Legion considers such action by any individual, groups, or organizations, to be inconsistent with the ideals and purposes of The American Legion.”

Know Your Benefits

The American Legion takes great pride in being able to provide you with this abbreviated and comprehensive guide to veterans benefits. This brochure is not intended to make you an authority on benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) but to make you aware of available benefits and services you may be entitled to, and how to
apply for them.

Questions concerning benefits or eligibility should be addressed to an American Legion Department Service Officer (www.legion.org/serviceofficers), a VA Regional Office, State Department of Veterans Affairs, or a County Veterans Service Officer.

Pre-Need Planning for Post Everlasting

We will all, one day, transfer to the Post Everlasting. Prior planning on issues such as eligibility for burial in a National Cemetery would be a blessing for those we leave behind.

Pre-Need Burial Eligibility

This American Legion's document "What To Do Before a Veteran Dies" is another good pre-planning resource .

What To Do Before a Veteran Dies




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