We had a busy and meaningful Luncheon in May! We had a Special Guest: State Representative George R. Moraitis, Jr., who was a Submarine Officer, and is currently in the Navy Reserve. George is also a Real Estate Attorney based in Fort Lauderdale. Our Speaker was George Rafajko, a Sargent in the Marines serving during Vietnam. He worked with Air & Naval Gunfire. George has been in the American Legion for 21 years and is Commander for the South Florida Region for the past 2 years. Also, WWII veteran Charlie Schaus USNR, gave a spontaneous recollection of his war experience while serving aboard the USS Barton. Charlie recalled his participation at Normandy on D-day, Okinawa, and at the Surrender of Japan— an emotional moment for all who attended.
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
Announcement for February 2013 Luncheon
Judge Edward H. Merrigan, Jr.
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum LuncheonWHEN:
Saturday February 16, 2013 at 11:30am
WHERE: Location: Primavera Restaurant
830 East Oakland Park Blvd (in shopping strip)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Phone for Primavera: 954-564-6363
Please RSVP by February 14
at: (754) 300-9259 or (954) 359-4400
-- you can leave messageDonation: $25.00
per personSpeaker: Judge Edward H. Merrigan, Jr. Presiding Judge for Broward’s Veterans Court Hope to see you there!Location of Primavera Restaurant:
Brief Bio of Judge Edward H. Merrigan, Jr.: Judge Merrigan is the first Judge to preside over the recently created Veterans Court in Broward County. He is a combat veteran and a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Merrigan was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. He brings to the Veterans Court a 20 year experience as a trial lawyer. Broward County celebrated the opening of Veterans Court on Monday, April 30, 2012. The first docket was held on May 7, 2012.
Broward County Veterans Court is a voluntary 12-18 month program designed for veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are currently experiencing legal problems due to suffering from behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse disorders. An alternative to the traditional court setting, Veterans Court will provide services such as intensive probation supervision, counseling and peer mentoring, random drug and alcohol testing, medication monitoring and social services. The Court promotes sobriety, recovery, and stability by providing veterans with the tools to move forward with their lives while satisfying the legal requirements of the court process.
Two WWII Willys MB Jeep restored by the Military History Research Foundation
Photo by Minerva Bloom
NAVAL AIR STATION MUSEUM LUNCHEON
LAUDERDALE YACHT CLUB
1725 S.E 12th Street
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316
SATURDAY, 11 AUGUST 2012
Guest Speaker: Karl Kahn
Military History Research Foundation
RSVP: By 9 August 2012
Tel: (954) 359-4400 (you can leave message) Donation: $25.00
Captain Richard M. Kenin
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
April 2012 Luncheon: U.S. Coast Guard Operations Overview
The Speaker for our April Luncheon was Chief of Staff of the Seventh Coast Guard District, Captain Richard M. Kenin. Captain Kenin has been married to Sherry for 23 years and through 14 Coast Guard moves. He is the father of two boys ages 15 and 11. He grew up in a small southern town and set an early goal in life to be a Coast Guard officer. His favorite tour in the Coast Guard: Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Miami, where he got to fly helicopters on a regular basis (his passion), and interact continuously with the fine men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
Captain Kenin's goal today, is to explain the benefit American taxpayers get from the dollars they invest in the Coast Guard, and the pride in public service displayed by every Coast Guardsmen. With this goal in mind, Captain Kenin prepared a special presentation for the NASFL Museum Association and enlightened the attendees with his interactive Operations Overview report.
Captain Kenin reported to his current assignment as the Coast Guard Seventh District Chief of Staff in July 2011. Prior to that he served as the Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Miami where he was responsible for the employment of eleven aircraft and 380 Coast Guard members executing missions throughout the Caribbean Basin. Captain Kenin earned his ‘Wings of Gold’ in 1987 and accumulated 15 years as an operational aviator in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In addition to Air Station Miami, his tours of duty included Coast Guard aviation units in Mobile, AL, St. Augustine, FL, North Bend, OR, and Houston, Tx, which he also commanded.
His staff assignments include: Assignments Officer at the Coast Guard’s Personnel Command, Coast Guard Fellow working on the staff of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Executive Assistant to the Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations in Washington, D.C. In that position he led the most comprehensive reorganization of Coast Guard operations since World War II and achieved the first major step in the Commandant’s Modernization plan. Captain Kenin earned a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Engineering/Naval Architecture; a Masters of Public Administration from The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the National War College. He also holds civilian designation as an Airline Transport Pilot with fixed and rotary wing qualifications. A native of Anderson, SC, Captain Kenin was commissioned in 1984 upon graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy. Captain Kenin has received the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the 9/11 Medal, Coast Guard Commendation medals, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation as well as various service and unit awards.
The Master of Ceremonies for this event was Donald Prichard, Executive Officer for Broward County Sheriff and Executive Vice-President of the NAS Fort Lauderdale Historical Association.
Sergeant Donald Prichard
Lt. Col. Leo R. Gray at NASFL Luncheon. Photo by Minerva Bloom.
Lt. Col. Leo R. Gray's
life and achievements have been an inspiration to many. He has made significant contributions to the United States throughout his military and civilian careers. Lt.Col. Gray was a formidable Speaker at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum Luncheon. He talked about his life during WWII and about his challenges and experiences as part of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.
During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states still were subject to the Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained at Tuskegee Army Air field in Macon County, Alabama, and flew with distinction. Primarily made up of African Americans, there were also five Tuskegee Airmen that were of Haitian descent.Tuskegee Airmen Combat Records:
The Tuskegee Airmen compiled the following combat records:
One Destroyer damaged beyond repair.- It was not sunk as had been previously reported. The USAF reports that 27 bombers were lost while being escorted by the Red Tail pilots.They flew a total of 179 bomber escort missions.
Tuskegee Airmen Awards and decorations
- 112 Aircraft destroyed in aerial combat. Red Tail losses were 12. That indicates a kill ratio of about 10 to 1. Additional Aircraft (about 150) were destroyed by the Red Tails on the ground.
- 148 aircraft probably destroyed or damaged. Note: Not much is said about "Aircraft probably destroyed or damaged".
- 15,533 sorties
- 312 missions
- 66 killed in action
- 80 killed overseas
- 84 killed in training and non-combat missions
- 95 Distinguished Flying Crosses awarded
- 355 pilots sent overseas.
In all, 996 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941 to 1946, 355 were deployed overseas, 150 Airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat and 32 fell into captivity as prisoners of war.
Tuskegee Airmen Accomplishments:
The Tuskegee Airmen were credited by higher commands with the following accomplishments:
- 112 German aircraft destroyed in the air, another 150 on the ground
- 950 rail-cars, trucks and other motor vehicles destroyed
- One destroyer damaged beyond repair
- A good record of protecting U.S. bombers, losing 27 on 179 escort missions.
Awarded for valor and performance included:
- Three Distinguished Unit Citations
- 99th Pursuit Squadron: 30 May–11 June 1943 for the capture of Pantelleria, Italy
- 99th Fighter Squadron: 12–14 May 1944: for successful air strikes against Monte Cassino, Italy
- 332d Fighter Group: 24 March 1945: for the longest bomber escort mission of World War II
- At least one Silver Star
- 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses
- 14 Bronze Stars
- 744 Air Medals
- Eight Purple Hearts.
RED TAILS NICKNAME: When the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their P-51's red, the nickname "Red Tails" was coined. Bomber crews applied a more effusive "Red-Tail Angels" sobriquet.
To read the Biography of Lt. Col. Leo Gray click here
February 4, NASFL Museum Luncheon
hosted at the LAUDERDALE YACHT CLUB
- Click on thumbnails to enlarge and read descriptions -
News from the NASFL Museum's Luncheon at the Lauderdale Yacht Club
An original drawing of a Martin B-26 Marauder was shown by Architect Paul Bradley. It will be donated to the Museum when it is completed. An honorary plaque was given to Mr. Bradley in recognition of his support throughout the years.
We had great speakers! Pete & Maddie Husta
Captain Pete Husta is currently the Fourth Fleet Liaison Officer to the Headquarters Staff of the U.S. Southern Command
and Maddie, his wife is the Survivor Outreach Services Coordinator
at SOUTHCOM. (Please read their bios below and visit their respective websites).
Captain Peter Husta
is the son of a WWII Pacific Campaign veteran and native of Wilton, Connecticut. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and from Webster University in 1987. Following graduation from the Academy, he proceeded directly to sea, serving in operations, deck and engineering billets in USS Mount Baker (AE-34), USS Klakring (FFG-42), USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG-13) and in USS Flatley (FFG-21). He is the plank owner Main Propulsion Assistant in Klakring and served as the Reserve Engineer and as Executive Officer in Morison and as the Reserve Unit Commanding Officer in Flatley.
Ashore, Captain Husta served at the Fleet & Mine Warfare Training Center, Navy Reserve Command Headquarters and in Mobile Inshore Warfare Unit’s. (MIUW) 209 and 212. He commanded MIUW 209 and subsequently went on to command MIUW 212. He is the first officer to ever command this type of unit in back-to-back assignments. Captain Husta has also served as a Special Assistant to the Commander Armed Forces South in Naples Italy. Returning permanently to the Active Duty rolls, Captain Husta subsequently served in Honduras as the Navy Section Chief and then as the Navy Mission Chief in Colombia. Following five years in Central and South America, he was selected to serve as the Navy Element Commander and subsequently, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Task Force in Guantanamo, Cuba. He is currently the Fourth Fleet Liaison Officer to the Headquarters Staff of the U.S. Southern Command. Captain Husta has served in Navy, Joint, NATO and Combined commands and operations and is authorized to wear the Defense Superior Service Medal (2 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal and several other personal, Unit and Service awards. He is also authorized to wear the Honduran Medalla de Merito Clase Dos, the Colombian Surface Fleet, Aviation Division and Submarine Fleet Service Commendations and was awarded the Sociedad de Almirante Padilla. Captain Husta was married to the former Madhya Acosta Castillo in the ancient Mayan ruins at Copan, Honduras. Madhya (Maddie) Husta
grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As a senior in Tegucigalpa High School, she earned an exchange scholarship and spent a year as an exchange student in Monterey, California, only a few blocks away from the Defense Language Institute. Upon her return to Honduras, she studied undergrad and graduate level psychology becoming a licensed practitioner at the National Psychiatry Hospital. Later in her career, she explored Educational Psychology working in the private school system teaching bilingual students in grade school and high school. Maddie is a Navy wife, married to Captain Pete Husta, the Fourth Fleet Liaison Officer at SOUTHCOM.
Maddie has been working in this AOR for several years, serving in Honduras, Colombia and Cuba. Before coming to Miami she came from the Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, where she supported families of all military branches stationed at the Naval Station. Her work in Guantanamo included the Fleet and Family Support Center as the Life Skills Educator in charge of teaching anger and stress management, parenting, couple’s communication, and loss and grief. On her following duties she was the Cuban Community Assistance Program Manager running the only elder care program in the Department of Defense. In this capacity, she managed a 24/7 service running three Assisted Living Facilities and providing general advocacy for the 44 Cuban families residing aboard the Naval Station. These families are those who chose to remain employed aboard the Naval Station following the 1959 Castro led revolution. Maddie is now the Survivor Outreach Services
coordinator at Southcom serving as the liaison and advocating for the families of our Fallen Heroes.
You can reach Mrs. Madhya Husta, Survivor Outreach Services Coordinator for South Florida at:
9301 NW 33rd St.
Doral, FL 33172-1202
Phone Office: 305-437-2178 e-mail: Madhya.Husta@hq.southcom.milWebsite: www.MyArmyOneSource.com
NASFLHA March 2011 Luncheon
David Flynn, USN WWII USS Houston survivor
, his lovely wife Donna, a dance instructor and Mr. Schwarz, attended the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association March 10th, 2011 Luncheon, at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club.
John Schwarz is the Executive Director of the Blue Bonnet Newsletter of the USS Houston CA-30 Survivor's Association
. He is the son of USN survivor Otto Schwarz.
The speaker at the NASFLHA Luncheon was RADMR Jim Black MC USN (Ret). He talked about his extensive experience as a Physician Medical Officer, and offered his observations about the future of the US Navy.
RADMR Jim Black receiving One Man's Vision book, from Allan McElhiney, President and founder of the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association & Museum.