Living History Series

At many of our monthly SAL meetings, we ask US veterans to share their experiences in America’s armed conflicts. Here are some of their stories.

Filmed February 16, 2017  Merton Schwartz, US Army World War II European Theater of operations.  Merton first talks about his father’s Army service during World War I in the battles around St Mihiel and the circumstances of his being awarded the Silver Star.  Merton then gives details on his own training and service late in 1945 in France, Belgium, and Germany.

Filmed April 20, 2017  Noe Aquirre, US Marine Corps veteran talks about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and his continuing service to veterans after leaving the Corps.

Filmed September 17, 2015   Jim Hogan, US Navy veteran speaks about his service during the Vietnam era in the “brown-water” navy and on the USS Enterprise.  He also talks about his work as a volunteer at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus where he as named National VA Volunteer of the Year.

Filmed March 16, 2017   Reverend Hae Soung Kim, Army Republic of Korea.  The Reverend recounts the history leading up to the Korean War, his escape from North Korea to join the ROK Army with friends, half of whom did not survive the war.

Filmed July 21, 2016   Malcolm Crawford Squadron Sergeant-at-Arms 2014-16 speaks about how he and his father came to join the Sons to honor the legacy of his grandfather John Crawford, USMC who served in the Pacific during WWII.  The Squadron’s main youth activity is to support the local BSA Troop 223 in Pacific Palisades and, in turn, it is also a major recruiting source for the Squadron, Auxiliary and Post.

Filmed July 20, 2017   Sidney Maiten, US Navy WWII veteran and member of Post 283 is introduced by his son Barry Maiten,  a member of Squadron 283.  Sidney recounts his life on board the USS Catoctin (AGC-5), a communications and command ship that participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France in August 1944.  The ship also served as transport for President Roosevelt for the last leg of his trip to the Yalta Conference.

Filmed July 21, 2016   Kurt Hiete, US Navy and Past Commander of Post 283 talks about his experience with the repatriation of remains from the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.  He explains the Defense Department Agencies responsible for the remains of service members in all conflicts and with History Flight, a non-profit specifically dedicated to the Marines who were killed at Tarawa.  Watch past the credits at the end to learn something unique about Lieutenant Bonnyman, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions leading Marines at the Tarawa landings.

Filmed April 21, 2016   Jack Doland, US Army, and a member of Pasadena Legion Post 13 recounts his experience in Italy, Poland, and Germany immediately after World War II as an MP.  Mr. Doland escorted one SS officer to his trial in Nuremberg, survived being attacked by POWs in camp and also defended Trieste against incursions by Yugoslavian guerrilla forces.

Filmed September 16, 2016   Brian Farris, US Navy, and a member of American Legion Post 283, tells us of his experience on the USS Pollux which arrived in Vietnam only a few days after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964.  He goes on to talk about his return to Los Angeles in 1965 after completing his service.

Filmed November 19, 2015   Richard Castellano, US Army, and a member of American Legion Post 13, tells us of his service with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam during 1967.  Richard is also wearing the insignia as member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart which was awarded to him for wounds received in combat.

Filmed November 19, 2015   John Watkins, US Navy recounts his service in the Pacific late in WWII and immediately after with a particular focus on his witnessing of the first post-war atomic bomb tests “Able” and “Baker” at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.

Filmed January 21st, 2016  Lewis Finocchio, US Army Artillery recounts his service as an artillery officer and as a forward air observer in Vietnam in 1966-67.  He also relates his evolving relationship with the Veterans Administration to where he works today.  View the epilogue to see the outcome of Mr. Finocchio’s request of the Squadron to help with computer resources with the Outpatient Mental Health clinic at the Los Angeles VA.

Filmed March 19, 2015  Cal Drake, US Marine Corps talks about his father’s service with the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division in WWII and his own stint with the USMC.  In addition, Cal provides details on his long career with the LAPD and his post-law enforcement work in Security for First Interstate and United California Banks.

Filmed April 16, 2015  USMC Aviator Ross Ehrhardt recounts his service flying combat air support missions over Vietnam from Nam Phong Air Base in Thailand in the early 1970s.  He also recounts his efforts in providing recreational therapy for those suffering traumatic injuries in the San Diego community which includes a large number of injured veterans.

Filmed November 20, 2008 – Our first ever recording in the series.  Apologies for the reduced video clarity and sound levels, but our equipment was not as sophisticated back then.

Filmed February 20, 2020  George Curtis, US Navy, recounts his service in the “Brown Water Navy” of river-based patrol boats in Vietnam and his work on larger ships after Vietnam supporting the new missile technology on surface ships.

Filmed January 20, 2020 Dave Walsh, US Navy tells his story as an officer aboard a destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet during the early 1960s, including transiting the Suez Canal and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Filmed November 2019

Filmed February 18, 2016 Ray Landgraf, US Army and member of Legion Post 283.  Ray is one of the few WWII speakers we have hosted that was in service before Pearl Harbor.  His unit was one of the first Army units into Hawaii after the attack to shore up defenses while the US Navy fleet raised and repaired damaged ships.  He went back to Airborne training and then was sent to the Pacific as a paratrooper for the re-taking of the Philippines.

Filmed July 9, 2015  Bill Kagan, who served as a surgeon with the US Army Air Corps during WWII recounts his work providing medical care to US service members in the Philippines as well as to the local population recovering from injuries sustained in war.

Filmed September 20, 2012

Filmed October 18, 2012

Filmed October 18, 2012

Filmed February 12, 2012

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Filmed February 21, 2013

Filmed September 15, 2011

Filmed January 19, 2012

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Filmed November 18, 2010

Filmed September 16, 2010

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Filmed March 18, 2010