THE FREEDOM COMMITTEE OF ORANGE COUNTY
“Passing the Torch of Liberty On To Future Generations”
Minutes of the Meeting of January 14. 2009
Pledge of Allegiance: Walther Ehlers, Medal of Honor Recipient
Invocation: Dr. Norm Loats
Taps: Lt.Col. Andrew L. “Andy” Weniger, USAF (Ret.), DFC, PurpleHeart Medal
and Pearl Harbor Survivor Medal
Binnacle List: Bruce Bauer, Dick Baynes, Dan Huston and Harvey Shaw
Guests Present: Barbara Brandt, Edith Brandt, Dorothy and Frank Dave, Ed Fawcett,
Eddie Felix, Mona Hill, Judy Selling, Martha Somers, Scott Williams,
and Elizabeth Yee
Jim Baker, Stretch Brandt, Jack Cole, Bus Cornelius, Ed Decker, Bob Dugan, Tom Egan, Walter Ehlers, George Grupe, Ronnie Guyer, Sid Hallburn, Jack Hammett, Arnold Hanson, Dale Hanson, Dick Higgins, Bud Hohl, David Lester, Syd Lucas, Frank Mannino, Ted Marinos, Dick O’Brien, Don Oldis, Bob Perry, Lou Passemato, Gladys Refakes, Tim Richards, Harry Selling, John Skara, Bob Stoddard, Ted Tanner, Phil Vinci, Gene Wallace, and Fred Whitaker
Announcements: *Sixty Military Veterans are needed for the Corona del Mar High School
“Veterans Program” in February 2009
* Freedom Committee hats are for sale @ $10.00
Robert “Stretch” Brandt, QM2c. USN. Amphibious Force
“The LST Sailor and D-Day Landings in Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy & Japan”
Robert Brandt joined the Navy in October 1942. Because of his prior civilian education, he was awarded Petty Officer 2nd Class upon enlisting. After training, he sailed for the North African invasion aboard a Landing Ship Tank, LST 309 as seen above.
The North African landings, “Operation Torch,” were heavily opposed by both shore installations and French troops. The German Luftwaffe attacked the fleet for 83 nights. QM2C Brandt displayed a bayonet he made from the wreck of the first German plane shot down in Africa.
The Allied invasion of Sicily, code-named “Operation Husky,” July 1943, followed. It was the largest amphibious operation of the war in terms of men landed on the beaches.
The Salerno, Italy landing in Sept. 1943 was a very difficult operation. The outcome was so in doubt that the LSTs were ordered to stand by for possible evacuation.
The last Atlantic theater beach landing for PO2C Brandt was Normandy on June 1944. Taking part in the landing were 864 ships, including 236 LSTs.
There is a D-Day museum at Deauville, France overlooking Utah Beach. When Brandt visited the museum in later years, he saw there were no Navy uniforms on display. He quickly solved that problem by donating his D-Day uniform.
As part of the preparation for D-Day, a landing exercise named “Operation Tiger” was conducted. During the buildup phase of “Tiger,” eight LSTs in a convoy were caught by 9 German E-boats which torpedoed and sank two. This was the most costly training incident in WWII.
Brandt’s last assignment was the preparation for the invasion of Japan. He sailed on an ARL27, Landing Craft Repair Ship, from the Pacific coast and was only too happy to return 359 days later and no invasion. (An excellent resource for more information is: http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/dday/armada.aspx)
Tom Egan reported on his meeting with another computer host that would improve our web site and its capabilities.
Ronnie Guyer representing Assemblyman Van Tran presented a California Resolution of Achievement to Jack Hammett for his war time service, civic contributions to the City of Costa Mesa, his devotion to family, and to the Living History Organization.
Fred Whitaker, Treasurer, presented the Statement of Income & Expenses for Sept – Dec 2008. He acknowledged donations from Dr. Loats, Frank Orzio, Greg Young, Robert Perry, and American Airlines. Checks are to be made out to Freedom Committee of Orange County.
Table Topic: “Your scariest moment in the Service”
Members who shared their experiences:
Bud Hohl, Jack Campbell, Ted Marinos, Ed Felix, Dick O’Brien, Lou Passemato, Harry Selling, George Grupe, Norm Loats, Walter Ehlers, Kirk Ferguson and Ted Tanner.
The meeting adjourned at 1330 hours
(Minutes of the meeting prepared by Tim Richards)