Austin, Texas Chapter

 The Association for all Military Officers            Companion Bulletin-January 2016
Words from the Commander:

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND WELCOME TO 2016! Last year was quite a journey and this leap year will no doubt continue to take us on an interesting and often time equally challenging journey. Those who will make resolutions for 2016, good luck and success on your achievement.

On a somber note, we extend our sincere condolences to Companion Conrad Derdeyn on the passing of his wife, Floann H. "Anna" Derdeyn on 10 December. There will be a memorial service held on 20 January at the Camp Mabry Chapel at 1400 hours. Additional details will be published on 10 January 2016. Please keep Conrad and the Derdeyn family in your prayers and thoughts.

Recent feedback reveled that companions who participated in the Austin Military Officers Association of America (AMOAA) Gala Holiday event at the Austin Club had an enjoyable evening. Companion McVeigh was captured in a nice photograph sporting his distinguished Army Dress Blue Mess uniform and medals at the gala. It may be inevitable that we may be teaming up more during 2016 with AMOAA as both organizations seek increased community evolvement.

As your Executive Board is aware, all MOWW chapters are now required to create and implement a Chapter Action Plan. According to our Regional Commander, "this is a formalized method for each chapter to identify, document, plan and implement the outreach programs the chapter wants to support…" Our significant focus this year is to actively expand our recognition and support to the JROTC programs previously covered by the Corpus Christi MOWW chapter. Also, we want to become more engaged with local military/veteran-related community organizations. There are other goals that we will be discussing during the coming months. As always, we need and value your input and active participation to achieve our goals and to maintain a quality and viable chapter.

It is imperative that we seriously begin our succession planning for the 2016-2017 AMOWW year. So, let us hear from you regarding the position that you would like to serve during the next session. In fact, your commitment may be one of your New Year's Resolutions!

This month we will meet for lunch at 1130 hours on Thursday, 14 January 2016, at Marie Calenders, 9503 Research Blvd, Suite 400. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. If transportation is needed, do not hesitate to contact a fellow companion or me at 512-426-5146 so that arrangements can possibly be made to get you there.

In February, Thursday, 11 February 2016 we will return to the Crowne Plaza Hotel for our evening meeting and special program. Our meeting will begin as usual with a social gathering at 1830 hours. Additional details will be in next month's COMPANION.

In closing, Peggy and I wish all of you a very happy New Year filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

---Colonel (R) Leon Holland, USA

Next Meeting:14 January 2016
Location:Marie Calender's

The last battle of the Civil War was won by the Confederates in the southern tip of Texas at the Battle of Palmito Ranch
Fighting ISIS and in Afghanistan (Air Force Times) No peace is in sight in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan in 2016, so airmen will continue to put warheads on foreheads.

Chapter Officers
CommanderCol Leon Holland512 335-1224
Treasurer Col Andrew McVeigh512 261-6272
AdjutantLt Col J R Howard512 993 4532
ChaplinLtCol Ernest S. Dean        512 477-5390
Youth Leadership Conference    LtCol J R Howard512 255-2206
ROTC AwardsCol Leon Holland512 335-1224
Newsletter & Web SiteLtCol J R Howard512 255-2206

Luke 1: 46-49, "Mary's Song of Praise" 46. Mary said, My heart praises the Lord; 47. My soul is glad because of God my Savior. 48. For he has remembered me, his lowly servant! From now on people will call me happy 49. because of the great things the mighty God has done for me. His name is holy."

We have here one of the greatest, if not the greatest, statements of faith ever recorded. Throughout the centuries, this portion of scripture, and the larger context out of which it comes, has been known as the Magnificent (Mary magnifies the Lord) and has been the source of great writings and glorious music.

Here is a young girl having been told by God that she is to give birth to a son, in fact, the Son of the Most High God. We know this Holy One as Jesus. Startling! Dramatic! Yet true, "for there is nothing that God cannot do." (v.37)

Now is a good and proper time for you and me to ponder deeply the reality that God's love can be as alive and active in our hearts as in the heart of Mary. Are we moved to confessions of faithfulness? Are we as sensitive to the needs of the world around us and around the globe? Are we energized to carry out personal acts of servanthood and healing? Do we feel that passion of Mary to honor God and to be joy-filled in our relationship with God and others?

We are approaching holy days, days that demand the special attention of our spirits and our hearts. May we overcome any hesitation or reluctance we may have to hear God's word to us. May we believe that God desires to call us right now to our own magnificent words and deeds.

Chaplain Ernie Dean

VA Wait times The logistics of the backlog is complicated, and has lots of qualifications. The 100,000 number VA celebrated in August was for initial claims applications that were 125 days old. Since that number was well over half a million when the agency declared war on it two years ago, the progress looks real. The news isn't all good, though. The Times reports while the claims backlog has shrunk, the appeals backlog - vets who don't like the response they get from VA and ask to have it reviewed - has climbed from 167,412 in September 2005 to 425,480 in October 2015. "VA officials say there are two possible solutions to the bottleneck," Zarembo writes. Those are "money to hire more lawyers, judges and other staff to process appeals, or a rewrite of the law by Congress." In essence, the VA has pushed the backlog from claims to appeals by applying its resources to claims. It appears to be playing Whac-A-Mole with the claims/appeals process; one goes down, the other pops up .
The number of military veterans in the country's jails and prisons continues to drop, a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows. It's the first government report that includes significant numbers of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - and the findings defy stereotypes that returning war veterans are prone to crime. The data show that veterans are less likely to be behind bars than nonveterans. During that period, veterans made up 8 percent of inmates in local jails and in state and federal prisons, excluding military facilities. Less than a third of veterans behind bars actually saw combat, but those who did also reported higher rates of mental health issues, according to the report. On average, veterans doing time are almost 12 years older than nonveterans and are less likely to have multiple previous offenses.


3.9% A concerted national effort to hire veterans, coupled with their sought-after essential skills training, likely had an effect on making October's veteran unemployment rate the lowest since April 2008, ACCORFING TO Susan S. Kelly, who leads DoD's Transition to Veterans Program Office, The latest data show that among 18- to 24-year-olds, unemployment rates for veterans and civilians were statistically equal, at just over 10%.

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds , as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer held in a German POW camp, he ordered more than 1,000 Americans captives to step forward with him and brazenly pronounced: "We are all Jews here." He would not waver, even with a pistol to his head, and his captors eventually backed down. He has been nominated for the Medal of Honor
(New York Times) Freedom of speech may not be curbed unless it poses a "clear and present danger" - an actual, imminent threat, But in response to the Islamic State's success in grooming jihadists over the Internet, some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider that constitutional line.
Reverse your ceiling fan - When chilly temps set in, you probably aren't thinking about turning on your ceiling fan. But the appliance actually boasts year-round benefits. Heat rises. Therefore, reversing the direction of the blades - so they spin in a clockwise motion- will draw the cool air up toward the ceiling while forcing the warm air back down to heat your space. Choose the lowest setting and remember to adjust your thermostat accordingly - you might even see significant savings on your next electric bill. The University of Arkansas cites research showing that wintertime use of ceiling fans can lower heating costs by 20 to 30 percent.

The new Zumwalt destroyer has a tumblehome hull. The Russo-Japanese War proved that the tumblehome battleship design was excellent for long distance navigation, especially when encountering narrow canals, and other waterways; but that it could be dangerously unstable when watertight integrity was breached.[3] Four tumblehome Borodino-class battleships, which had been built in Russian yards to Tsesarevich?'?s basic design, fought on 27 May 1905 at Tsushima. The fact that three of the four were lost in this battle resulted in the discontinuing of the tumblehome design in future warships for nearly all navies. The Navy has built a modern version of the tumblehome that utilizes computers to aid in stability, much like the Air Force used computers to transform a flying wing into a stable aircraft A new law will prevent military retirees from losing Survivor Benefit Plan benefits when their ex-spouse dies before they do, by allowing the benefit to be transferred to a current or future spouse. A military retiree who was married at the time of an ex-spouse's death, or who later remarries, to elect to provide SBP coverage to his or her current spouse. The request must be received by DFAS within one year after the date of the ex-spouse's death. For retirees who remarry after an ex-spouse's death, the request must be received within one year after the date of the marriage.
Several items from RAO Bulletin

Affair at Galaxara Pass, November 24, 1847, was a U. S. Army victory of Gen. Joseph Lane, over the Mexican Army Light Corps, an irregular force under Gen. Joaquín Rea. The Light Corps had been the principal force harassing the U. S. Army line of communications on the National Road during Scott's campaign against Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. Following Lane's relief of the Siege of Puebla he moved against the Light Corps to end that threat.

After their defeat at Atlixco by General Lane a month earlier, the Light Corps of Gen. Joaquín Rea had retreated to Izúcar de Matamoros, more distant from the American garrison at Puebla and contiuned harassing the U. S. Army line of communications on the National Road between Vera Cruz and Mexico City. General Lane decided to strike again at Rea, and ordered a night march to surprise the garrison at his base at Izúcar de Matamoros. Surprise complete the Skirmish at Matamoros was extremely successful, killing many of the enemy, dispersing the rest and capturing and destroying tons of arms and material belonging to the Light Corps.

Early on the morning of November 24, 1847, General Lane's command moved off on their return march to Puebla, with 25 or 30 men of Captain Robert's company of Texas mounted riflemen in the advanced guard.

The remainder of the Riflemen followed the artillery and a small train of four wagons, containing property captured the day before, drawn mules and driven by Mexican drivers. The Louisiana Dragoons were the rear guard.

As they moved northward though the difficult road through the long Galaxara Pass, five miles north of Izúcar de Matamoros the train became spread out along the road. General Lane fell back to get it moving and close up the column, shortly thereafter a report came that Mexican cavalry had appeared to their front.

General Lane ordered Colonel Hays to the head of the column to engage the enemy with the advance guard. When the Colonel arrived he found a small party of the advance guard being chased back to the American column by two hundred Mexican lancers. Hays promptly charged the advancing Mexicans with Captain Roberts' company, and Lieutenants Ridgely, Whipple, Waters, McDonald, Blake, and General Lane's private secretary, Mr. Phelps, 35 men in all. Their charge broke the lancers and Hays detachment then pursued the lancers back across the plain and up a steep slope toward the mountains, from which they had originally come. The Mexican Lancers attempted to rally but were broken buy the continuing charge by Hays and his men, and fell back over the summit of the mountain. Hays continued in close pursuit where they found the defeated lancers being reinforced by the main body of the Light Corps, 500 lancers under their commander General Joaquin Rea.

At this point in the contest, the revolvers and rifles of the mounted riflemen had all been discharged in the advance and none had sabres. In the face of the disadvantage of numbers and weaponry, Hays ordered his force to retire to their original position. Despite being charged by four or five hundred lancers, Hays men retired in good order to their original position, recharged their weapons and repulsed the charge. They held their position until the artillery and the Dragoons came up under Captain Lewis. The artillery was unlimbered. When the lancers then retired to the mountains several rounds of grape shot and canister persuaded them to disappear from sight.

During the engagement, no longer guarded by American soldiers, the Mexican drivers cut the mules from the wagons and escaped with them. The captured property with no means of transport was destroyed with the exception of the sabres, which were distributed to the mounted men, the remainder destroyed.

For several hours after the engagement the Mexican lancers shadowed the march of Lane's command. They kept their distance, too far from the Americans to charge or shoot at, despite some attempts to do so by the riflemen and artillery.

The Americans lost 2 men killed and 2 slightly wounded all in Hays charge. One of the killed was Lieutenant Ridgely, Lane's acting assistant adjutant general, who was mortally wounded while charging with his comrades by the side of Colonel Hays. The other killed was a Texas Ranger, William Malpass, who also fell in the charge. Several men were mentioned in the report for distinction in the action, among them Private Glanton, of the Texan rangers, who "attracted general notice for his extraordinary activity and daring throughout the actions both of the 23d and 24th." The Mexicans loss was not accurately known by the Americans, but Lane wrote in his report that it:

" could not have been less than fifty killed and wounded. Of the killed, were two captains, one lieutenant, and also three noncommissioned officers of artillery."

This engagement was a clear illustration of the advantage repeating firearms gave mounted troops over those with single shot firearms and hand held weapons.

Lane's column marched on through the night arriving at Atlixco, about ten o'clock of the morning of the 25th. After four hours of sleep the column moved off to Puebla, where they arrived at two o'clock in the afternoon with no further incidents. Their raid on Matamoros, the subsequent battle in the pass and their return were accomplished within sixty hours. Lane's raid had effectively negated the danger of the Light Corps to the American line of communications for the rest of the war.

Battle Site Today
The site of the Galaxara Pass battlefield is now partly occupied by the town called La Galarza, in the Municipality of Izúcar de Matamoros, in the State of Puebla.